May, June, July… These are the months when students in most countries and universities have to deal with final exams, sleepless nights, no social life and almost non-stop studying. However, in this article, we bring you some tips and tricks which can help you survive these months and succeed in your studies.
Find your Motivation
We all know those moments when we are ready to give up the night right before the hardest exam, pack our bags and leave for an abandoned island. Even if we have been told many times that grades do not really matter as long as you have the title and the knowledge, the fact is that they do, it is just that they are not the only goal. Because of that, it is important you keep yourself motivated in the way that works the best for you. My own suggestion would be to find some short-term goal (such as enjoying summer, feeling satisfied by your own hard work, etc.) and combine it with a long-term goal (better opportunities for scholarships, masters, etc.).
Keep your Expectations Realistic
Some subjects might be just too difficult or your current situation might not allow you to dedicate the 100% of your time to your studies, however that obviously does not mean you should not try your hardest. However, knowing your limits is just as important as doing your best to achieve what you want. If you do not set unrealistic goals, you will prevent yourself from feeling unmotivated when you cannot achieve them.
Make Sure Your Health Remains a Priority Over Your Studies
Although you might need to make some sacrifices, it is crucial to keep yourself fit, healthy and rested, especially during finals. Whenever you have an exam, ALWAYS make sure you have at least a short sleep during the night. There are plenty of studies that prove that during the sleep, your brain processes new information and helps you to organise new ideas. Teach yourself that sleeping is also a part of the learning process and therefore, cannot be left out.
Go to Lectures
That might sound obvious, however, I cannot stress enough how important it is to not skip any lectures unless you really cannot make it. They might be boring sometimes, however, just listening to the ideas will make it easier for you to study at home. First, the information you will try to contain will not be completely new and you will have at least some previous concepts and ideas. And second, it is always an advantage if the professor knows you or at least has seen you present at their lectures.
Always Take Notes
Related to the previous step, whenever you are attending a lecture, take notes the best way you can. Taking good notes does not only help you to memorise some of the main concepts while doing so. Having good notes which you made yourself is almost having half of the work done. In terms of how to take notes, I suggest you find the way that fits you the best. Some people prefer using a computer or even some apps, others prefer the old-school paper-and-pen way. Using color is also up to you. Do whatever works the best for you, but make sure you do take your notes.
Find Your Own Way of Studying
Finding the best way of studying is also up to you. There is no general advice on which way of studying is the most efficient one. May it be studying at home or at the library, on your own or with your friends, in silence or reading aloud, it depends on you. The one thing I do suggest is to turn off your phone and your computer and try to minimize the factors that might distract you, focusing 100% on your studies.
Work with Schedules
Even if you hate being so organised and punctual, make sure to at least calculate mentally how many hours/days/weeks you need for a certain assignment. If you feel like that would work for you, try creating a schedule where you write down what needs to be done and when and try to stick to it. It will not only help you to keep track of your progress but will also make sure you do not forget about any assignments or exams.
Study in a Positive Environment
Keeping your environment clean and organised will reduce any possible distraction from your studies so I do suggest respecting that point, keeping in mind your personal lifestyle. I also suggest finding the time of the day when you feel the most efficient and studying during that time. Studying before you go to sleep is not a bad idea neither. Also, make sure you have regular breaks. It is proved that after 45 minutes you start to lose your attention, so try to have a 5-10 minute break after every 45 minutes.
If You Don’t Like it, Turn it into Something You Do
Oftentimes we are forced to study for an exam we are not interested in at all, or we have to do assignments that seem pointless. If you do it with no motivation, it will probably cost you double the effort and time, so always try to find some way how you can turn it into something you like or at least into something that will be useful for you.
As cliché as it might sound, it is important we keep in mind we are a small, privileged percentage of the population who have access to studies. We can not only achieve a better working position but also develop our skills, train our minds and overall, have a more complex view of the world. There are plenty of people who do not have the same opportunities. It only depends on ourselves in which way we pursue our studies, however, we should always keep it in mind, stay humble and be grateful for what we have (even though finals suck, and probably always will).
As I stressed many times in this article, every person is a different world and there is no such thing as general advice that would work for everyone. Therefore, we would love if you could share your experience with us in the comments section below. What are YOUR study habits? Don’t forget to share them with us by leaving a comment below!