7 Things You Absolutely Need to Survive Finals

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Ugh. Finals week. You may not be able to hear it, but we’re screaming on the inside, just like you. This is the lead-up to the absolute worst part of the year.

But Finals don’t have to make us a big ball of anxiety. The best way to ace them all is by going in prepared. Studying, of course, is key, but so are these seven essentials you’ll need to survive Finals Week. Here are the things we’re counting on to get us through:

 

  1. A Refillable Water Bottle

Why did it take us so long to realize that water is really magical and restorative? It makes our skin glow, helps maintain weight, and wakes us up when caffeine won’t do the trick. Water is also the perfect study partner as drinking the right amount (divide your body weight in half and drink that in ounces), makes you both more alert and improves your memory.

  1. Awesome Treats

Healthy snacks with loads of protein are an absolutely essential part of keeping our brains focused. Think nuts and berries or granola bars and protein packs. But of course, we’re also sneaking in some snack time too. After all that studying, we deserve a break to munch on some goodies from a Finals Week care package.

  1. Perfect Pillow

Sleep is a must. While we might be tempted to pull an all-nighter or two, studies have shown that a lack of sleep can actually hurt come test day. Being tired means less focus and a higher chance of forgetting basic facts and figures. Increasing sleep time is essential, so we plan on making our bed an oasis with high-quality pillows, bed linens, face masks, sound machines, and maybe even a pair of noise canceling headphones.

  1. Extra Supplies

Hello highlighters! You’re are our new best friend for the week. Add in pencils, extra batteries for our graphing calculator, supplies for the art portfolio, sticky notes, and flashcards… woah. Our office supplies run just went crazy, but it’s all worth it to have everything we need at our fingertips for long, intense study sessions.

  1. Ultimate Study Spot

Where you study matters just as much as how long you study. The library is always a good choice just because of the regulated silence. But the library is often a central location, and we prefer to not be distracted by a friend or a crush. Instead, take your studying outdoors, when possible. The sunlight can help you stay awake and fresh air can change up your mood.

  1. Support System

If your friends and family don’t already know, make sure you tell them you’re gearing up for finals week. Have a friend call every other day to check in on you and motivate you to keep going. Let mom and dad know you might not be reachable. And ask them to keep conversations light and fun instead of harp on you about exams and grades. The less stress you have from your inner circle, the better.

  1. Empty Social Calendar

The support system rule also applies to your friends on campus. While your bestie may be riding high with a 4.0 average and no worries for their finals, you can’t let them get in the way of the work you need to do. Clear your calendar, cancel your fraternity functions, and turn your phone on “do not disturb.” You’ll survive for a week while you gear up to rock your final exams.

The Less-Obvious Benefits of Studying

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You know you have to study. If you want the good grades, you’ve got to put the time and effort in with each class. While you think cramming for that big exam is just enough, you’re also wondering, “Shouldn’t there be more benefits to pouring over my entire notebook?” Luckily, for high school and college students, here are a few great examples of some little-known perks of doing your best while in study mode.

 

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  1. Become a Better Friend

When you take notes, especially if you are taking them from a lecture or video, you are practicing what is called “active listening.” Passive listening happens when you are listening, but you are thinking of the next step (such as what to say next). Active listening is when your mind is totally focused on what the person is saying so that you comprehend it best.

For example, if your BFF is talking about an argument with her mom, put your good studying skills to work to pick up on subtleties in her speech pattern or her mentioning of smaller details. Your friend will love that you are tuned in to her, and you will love that your mind is focused.

 

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  1. Practice Goal Setting Techniques

The main goal when you study is to know the necessary amount of information and move on. But when you study, you are also practicing goal-setting techniques that can help you become a successful person down the line.

Start by making the goal (memorize x amount of pages), plan for the goal (spend 25 minutes a day reading through notes), and then work towards the goal (the actual studying). When you’re out of college, you can use that same careful and detailed method to find your first job, work towards a promotion, or even run a marathon!

  1. Exercise Your Brain for the Future

People say learning happens every day, and starting good studying habits helps you learn better and faster. When you’re in the job market, being able to pick up new skills and knowledge makes you more marketable, and you’ll be able to talk about almost anything while showing off what you’ve picked up while pulling those all-nighters..

Studying is exercise and fuel for your brain. It fires up your nerves and speeds up the signals. In addition, learning something new also increases myelin, a fatty brain substance that powers up brain function. See? You’ve learned something new today.

 

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  1. Learn to Problem Solve

Critical thinking is a buzzword you’ve picked up by now — and for good reason. Critical thinking helps you process issues as they come in a creative, stress-free way. It additionally helps you see the world outside of black and white. For example, an algebraic question may have more than one way to solve it — one way being faster and more efficient, the other being slower but more detailed.

But with studying, critical thinking isn’t quite so obvious. Memorizing material your teacher told you isn’t helping, right? Wrong! When you study, you are essentially asking yourself questions and giving yourself answers. You are looking critically at material that you may have covered months ago. And you’re adding to your bank of skills and information that you can use to apply to other problems down the road.

Studying may seem like a pain now, but hopefully these facts motivate you to want to study and get more from your classes than just that great grade.

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Study Session Must-Haves in College

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With midterms right around the corner, classes are starting to pick up, the stakes have gotten a little bit higher, and you’re probably getting a lot less sleep!

Needless to say, this time of year can be very stressful for most college students, and studying for an exam can put on the pressure. However, with a few key items in your bag on every trip to the library, you can make those study sessions much easier on yourself!

1.) Your water bottle

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There’s a good chance if you’re locking down for a study session, you might be there for several hours. You don’t want to get stuck without any water! Staying well is imperative- both for the sake of studying and for getting through your exams. Keeping your water bottle with you at all times ensures that you’re taking care of yourself while you study. Stay hydrated!

2.) Snacks!

1101p28-best-granola-bars-xAlong the same lines, you’re not fully prepared to lock down for a 2-3 hour study session without a few snacks to keep you going! After a little while, you’ll reach that burnt-out point. Trying to study through the fog won’t do you much good from there, so take a 15-20 minute break every hour or so. Grabbing a small, healthy snack in that time is a great way to re-energize and stay motivated.

3.) Earphones

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Maybe you’re the kind of person who studies best with music in the background. Maybe you have a clip you need to analyze for a film class, or maybe you’re seeking the help of a few instructional videos for your Chemistry studying. Regardless of the reason, it’s always a good idea to have a pair of headphones on hand just in case. The last thing you want to do is annoy everyone around you in the library by blasting a video out of your laptop speakers!

4.) Whiteboard Markers

WIS1061Sometimes a change of scenery can do you good…if you’re starting to get a little burnt out drawing those chemical structures in your notebook, try switching to the whiteboard (if you’re studying in a classroom). Having whiteboard markers on hand is also good for some creative cleansing during a break! Doodle away!

5.) A Mini-Stapler

stadinstamin368cWhether you’re printing out several pages worth of study guides, essays, maps, etc…you want to make sure you’re keeping everything separated and organized. Keeping a mini-stapler in your backpack will ensure that you’ll never have to go shoving all those loose papers away until you can staple everything in class the day it’s due.

Good luck, and happy studying!

What’s always in your bag on a trip to the library?