Core Decorum: Eight ways to start studying for finals

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The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and as we all know, the home stretch can sometimes be the most difficult part. Whether it is getting the motivation to finish the year on a good note or keeping up the energy to study hard, spring semester exams can be tough. Luckily, there are ways to beat the end-of-year slump. If you start preparing now, you can be calm and confident by the time finals come around.

1. Go to office hours. You’ve heard it before, but that does not mean it is not true. Take advantage of professors’ office hours or schedule an appointment if you have a conflict. This will give you the chance to talk about any questions you might have in the class or any problems you are encountering while studying. As a bonus, you just might discover a fantastic new mentor.

2.Study with friends. When reviewing, you will discover there are two types of friends: those who know more than you do, and those who do not. Either way, you can benefit from studying with others. Learning from your peers can be very useful, and teaching them can be even more valuable.

3. Make a study guide. Start reviewing your notes little by little. Gradually making an outline can be a great way to go over the material. Try making a study guide on a shared Google document or flashcards on a site like quizlet.com. You may get more out of making the study guide than reviewing it.

4. Ask tutors for help. Did you know there are tutors who can assist you in a number of subjects? There is tutoring available for biology, business, chemistry, classics, economics, history, math, French, German, Italian, Spanish, philosophy, physics, politics and theology, in addition to the Writing Lab familiar to all freshmen. Check the Academic Success Office’s webpage for tutoring hours.

5.Find your study spot. Places to study on campus might be limited, but they do exist. Some students prefer the silence of the periodicals, while others like the calm of third floor Braniff or the energy of the Cap Bar. Those in need of a change of scene may even venture off campus to a café or park. No matter what works for you, stick to it. If your friends want to go to Starbucks and you know you will get too distracted there, head to the library. You will be glad you did.

6. Be prepared. Even if you were never a Boy Scout, it couldn’t hurt. Before leaving your dorm room or apartment, make sure you have everything you need. Otherwise you could find yourself halfway through setting up camp before realizing you forgot your headphones. Make sure to bring chargers, water and snacks to minimize the number of times you need to interrupt your study time.

7. Give yourself a break. Even though it seems counterintuitive, take breaks. Studying for eight hours straight for that Gen Bio exam might seem necessary, but even the sharpest minds can become fried after rigorous work. A walk around campus or (quick) visit to the Cap Bar will refresh your brain so that you can get back to studying efficiently.

8. Don’t panic. In the end, if you have prepared well, you should not need to worry. Especially if you start preparing now, you can log enough hours studying to feel confident in your ability to ace the test. Get plenty of sleep the night before instead of cramming. Your GPA will thank you.

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