By Michelle Lin

With finals just around the corner in December, students should now begin preparing for these comprehensive exams.  To help you maintain or bring up your grades, you should incorporate the following tips into your studying schedule:

Silence your phone and take a break from your social media accounts.  If notifications are buzzing from your phone every few seconds, you can imagine it will be extremely difficult to concentrate on your studies without getting distracted.  Download a “Self Control” app on your electronic devices if you know you can’t restrain yourself.

Ask your teacher for help.  Find out what kind of an exam you will be taking.  A 50 question multiple choice exam is very different from writing an essay.  Seek help, especially in classes you are struggling in, and determine what key points you should focus on.

Make a study plan. Take out all your old notes and past exams (if you have them), and briefly go through them.  Pay special attention to what you struggled with and feel you need to review a bit more on.  Additionally, form condensed notes, which will ensure that you focus on the main ideas and cover the entire scope of your lessons.

Form study groups.  Your friends can be very helpful in helping you study. Test each other on the information and ask for help when needed.

Eat properly.  Make sure you’re feeding yourself with healthy food.  Eat a nice, nourishing breakfast the morning of your final.  Testing while hungry is not fun!

Sleep.  Don’t pull an all nighter the night before a final.  Fatigue may hinder you from thinking properly, and you may not retain information as well.  According to Neuroscience and Psychology professor Roxanne Prichard, “Becoming sleep-deprived causes a change in the brain.  Your brain doesn’t necessarily shut down when you lack sleep—it just stops functioning properly.”

Don’t cram last minute.  Start studying at least two weeks before your finals to get a complete grasp of the material.  Don’t study for ten hours straight; it strains the mind, and you’ll find you don’t remember the information as well as you want to.  “Last minute cramming may allow you to pass a test, but you won’t remember the material for long,” explains Williams College psychologist Nate Kornell, Ph.D.

With these tips in mind, you can study hard to ace those finals.  Finish the semester knowing you tried your best and did everything you could to pass your classes!

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