Finals are just around the corner. That means it’s time to buckle down and start to focus on your study plans. Forming good study habits could make or break how well you perform on your exams. Staying productive while studying can be difficult. Here are 8 productivity tips and study tips for college students who are preparing for finals in their in-person or online courses.
1. Pay attention in class
Paying attention in class might seem like a no-brainer. However, if you aren’t paying attention in class, finals might be quite tricky. Sit as close to the front of the room as possible to remain attentive. Being in front of the class can also help you to remain engaged, ask questions, and provide answers.
One aspect of the class that you might be used to doing is taking notes. However, don’t over do it and miss key points. Only write down what is important material. To help retain the information, make easy correlations with the material you are learning.
2. Get a good night's sleep
As finals approach, professors often start to pile on last-minute homework, projects, and various other assignments before you take the final exam. This potential increase in work might cause you to pull all-nighters, making it hard to prioritize sleep. This could lead to tiredness, lack of focus, and excess consumption of coffee or other types of caffeine.
A few ways you can ensure you get a good night's sleep is by creating a routine for yourself. Choose a time that you will go to bed and wake up. Avoid sleeping in for extra time. The earlier you start your day, the better your chances of being more productive. Try to avoid being on your phone, computer, tablet, or watching TV for at least an hour before bed. This may help you to wind down and fall asleep faster.
3. Eat balanced, healthy meals
Before and during your studying, make sure to eat a healthy, balanced meal. Consume foods that are going to help you stay energized and focused during your study time. Avoid foods that will make you feel sluggish and tired.
When you watch what you are eating before studying, you can easily find the foods that fuel your energy for the day. Everyone is going to have different foods that may work better for their energy supply throughout their study sessions. Find what foods work best for you and stick to an eating pattern.
4. Study in intervals
Instead of binge studying the night before your exam, start preparing weeks in advance by studying in time intervals. Try creating a study plan that requires you to focus for 25 minute intervals. Between intervals, take a two to three minute break to walk or get a snack. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique. After your quick break, make sure to get back on task and focus on your next interval of studying. After 4 intervals, you can take a longer 20 to 30 minute break.
Start your studying early and often so that you can easily retain information without cramming the night before your final. In fact, the Pomodoro Technique is perfect for anyone who feels distracted or overwhelmed when it comes to focusing on work.
5. Stay organized and set priorities
To nail down your focus, make to-do lists to prioritize studying and completing final assignments. Write your to-do list by due date and priority. When making your to-do list, make your daily list the night before, but keep a longer weekly list on hand. This can help you to reduce stress, remember what tasks need to be completed, and stay productive.
You can also create an electronic calendar with all due dates and activities. This will help you to view all of your work in one place easily. Consider organizing it by class and extracurriculars. Keeping it all in one place will help you focus on other things instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything you have going on. This also saves time by allowing you to jump in and start studying right away.
6. Work on one thing at a time
If you are struggling to accomplish important tasks because of a lack of motivation or you’re just merely procrastinating, make a study schedule. Use your to-do list to determine what essential tasks need to be done first. Then, set yourself a timer of how long you will spend on that task.
If you are focusing on schoolwork throughout the day, allow yourself half an hour at the end of the day to take a break and regroup. During this time, pick up your apartment, dorm, or any other space. That way, you can go to bed with a clean house, an accomplished school schedule, and a clear mind.
7. Eliminate distractions
Eliminating distractions can be challenging, but you may be surprised at how productive you can be when you turn off the TV or put your phone away. Think about the not-so-apparent distractions such as a roommate, pet, or study buddy. If you work best alone, it might be best to sit alone in a quiet space. Or, if you need some noise, create a small study group so you can all focus together.
Distractions can be the worst way to ruin your focus and waste time. Think about how productive you can be if you focus on your work and put your distractions aside for a couple of hours. Even if you feel like you are struggling to get work done, don’t break your focus to catch up on your social media feed.
When studying for finals, set deadlines for yourself, create a study schedule, and start working on your top priority assignments. That way, while you are entirely focused, you can get your most important work done. Preparing for final exams can be difficult, but remember, it is okay if you don’t complete your whole list in one day. Give yourself a break. Some things may take additional time and require more attention and detail.
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