Nervous about your upcoming finals? Ignoring your upcoming finals completely? Stay in the loop, and check out the Slader Study Series! Here’s How to Optimize Your Study Space.
Part 4: How to Get in the Zone
Testing is stressful. It’s even worse when a large percentage of your grade depends entirely on the final. And if you’re going to spend a long time studying the material, you definitely don’t want to fall apart actually taking the test.
Though the only thing that can really improve your testing mojo is practice (and who wants to take more tests?), we have some strategies that you can use to get in a good mental space for your most-dreaded final. Read on …
- Find out as much as you can about the test structure ahead of time. Will it be multiple choice? Will there be two essays and several short-answer questions? Is it one, two, or three hours long? The more you know, the less scary the test will be. If you know what types of questions will be on the test, you’ll also know the amount of time you can spend on each question. If you usually need more time to write your essays or work out the longer math problems, budget your time accordingly.
- Stick to your normal routine. Everyone will tell you to get lots of sleep before a test, and they’re right. More importantly, stick to your normal routine. If you eat a big breakfast, eat a big breakfast. Go through the motions that you perform every other day before school. That way, when you get to school, this isn’t OMG THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF YOUR LIFE — it’s just a normal school day. No stress.
- Avoid the weirdos cramming in the corner. You know the ones. They’re the students who not only know the years of Henry VII’s reign, but what Henry VII used to have for his afternoon tea. Unless one of your friends is reviewing a concept that you’d like to review too, stay away from frantic reviewers. They’ll put you in a frantic frame of mind.
- Don’t panic. If you get to a question that seems impossible, go on to the next one. When you come back to the impossible question, remember that it’s not impossible at all! Feel free to brainstorm on the page. Write down everything you remember about that type of problem, and then figure out what’s next. Once you panic, you’re going to feel like you don’t remember any of your study sessions, and that’s definitely not the case.
What are your strategies for test day (aka the apocalypse)? Let us know in the comments!
Nervous about your upcoming finals? Ignoring your upcoming finals completely? Stay in the loop, and check out the Slader Study Series! Here’s How to Study What Matters.
Part 3: How to Optimize Your Study Space
We know it’s easy to get distracted. Trigonometric functions aren’t that interesting anyway, and wait — is that a cat on the internet?
The only thing worse than not studying is wasting your time pretending to study. That’s why you need an awesome place to set up your study materials, and we’ve got some ideas for how you can reduce distraction and get the most out of your next study session. Read on …
- Get away from your electronics. It’s really easy to get caught up in your Twitter @ replies, start an entire texting conversation with a friend about nothing, or endlessly scroll through your newsfeed. Unless you really need your computer, turn it off - and same with your phone. If you need to write a paper on your computer but can’t resist opening up Facebook, you can try apps like SelfControl for Mac. (Warning: you really CAN’T turn this off.)
- Get away from your friends. Unless you’re in a study group, find a place where no one can come distract you. That includes your parents. (Did you know they won’t bother you as much if you’re doing something productive? It’s revolutionary.) Your study space can be anywhere: your room, the library, outside, anywhere you feel productive.
- Set the music yourself. What helps you get into the groove? Some people study best with music off, others with some background noise. My best study soundtrack is anything that makes me feel like a WIZARD. I mostly stick with the Harry Potter theme.
- Finally, reward yourself every so often. Work on your vocabulary terms for twenty minutes, and then get up to stretch. Eat a granola bar. Eat a box of granola bars. Eat a box of granola bars while doing a headstand. Just find a nice relaxing break activity that works for you. You can even check your phone to make sure that you’re not missing any really important gossip — but make sure to turn it back off when you go back to studying.
How do you make your study space awesome? Tell us in the comments!
Before summer, you have to run the Finals Gauntlet: the test of endurance and willpower that proves you worthy of your freedom.
As we all know by now, the amount of time that you spend stressing about finals is comparable to the amount of time that you actually spend studying. It’s tough to know exactly what to study for a class, or if the material that you go over will actually be on the test. But you can drastically improve your grades with a few minor adjustments — and a hefty helping of SLADER. (It’s good for you!)
Check out Part 1: How to Study in Advance.
Part 2: How to Study What Matters
It’s happened to all of us. Your teacher tells your class that parallax problems won’t be on the final … and then the one question that’s worth 15% of your grade is a parallax problem.
Starting to study can be overwhelming, simply because you’ve covered an entire textbook in a year. But don’t let the amount of material stress you out! If you stick to the Slader guidelines, you’ll be able to study what matters for your next final.
- Break it down. Separate all of your work into two categories: the stuff that’s hard for you, and the stuff that isn’t quite as hard. Then you can go chapter by chapter, spending more time on the Hard Stuff. If your teacher gives out study sheets, look at what’s emphasized on it.
- Check your old homework and tests. Teachers like to prioritize certain concepts. So if you have your homework or tests from Chapter 8, look at what your teacher thought was most important from that section. What was the last big question on your test from Chapter 5? That’s a concept you definitely need to cover.
- Do the hard problems from the book. Look at the ones you weren’t assigned, and read over the explanations on Slader. You don’t have to do every one, but it’s likely that you’ll get a similar problem on your final. Just skim the explanations to see how the problems are done. (Once, I got a problem straight from the book that I had practiced before the test. It was awesome.)
- Ask your teacher. We all know that teachers lie. “No parallax,” they say. But, all joking aside, your teacher can help you understand what will be on the final without giving too much away. Just be earnest and butter them up a little.
Agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think!