Finals are coming—are you ready?

Finals are quickly approaching, yet there’s nothing that I can do to keep me from doing everything I possibly can to procrastinate every assignment, delay taking every test and, sadly, even skipping every class. This always happens to me during the last third of the semester – “We’re so close to the end!” – yet it seems so very, very far away.

If my observations of my fellow students are any indication, I am not the only one who feels the doom and gloom of the last third of the semester. We may as well be a bunch of zombies, for all the energy we have. For those of you who feel the same way I do, here are some tips for productive studying.

1 Take your time. Cramming a lot of information into a short period of time may sound like a good idea when you’re running short on time and that exam is in three hours, but cramming is only for short-term memory retention. Once the test is over, the information is gone. To be sure you’re actually learning the material, take your time and space studying out.

2 Move. Though we’ve been told that it’s a good idea to have a designated location for all our studying, recent studies have shown that it is a better idea to study the same things in different locations, forming multiple associations with the information, helping retain the material all the easier.

3 Don’t fixate. Most of us like to focus on one subject until it’s completely mastered, often working on the same math section for two hours or conjugating those Spanish verbs for three, but experts say it’s better to mix up the studying. Take a short period of time to work on the verbs, but combine that with some reading comprehension as well. This gives the brain something new to digest, instead of fixating on (and getting bored with) the same old thing.

4 Don’t forget the practice test. I know I’m guilty of this, but after a long studying session, there’s nothing I want less than to take a practice test. I just studied the stuff, why test myself? Experts say this mentality is a very bad one. It is highly suggested that you take time to study things through once and then test yourself on it. Self-testing is said to be twice as effective as only studying.

Information found at www.NPR.org using research gathered by New York Times reporter Benedict Carey.

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