Finals Season: 10 Fun Study Tips to Help You Get Through

December 10, 2019 Student Life

For college students, the end of the semester can bring on stress from final exams, research papers and projects. The days of cramming and burning the midnight oil are old news as today’s savvy students are upping their studying and working game by taking a new approach to making the mark and ending the semester on a high note. How are they doing it? And if you are a student, how can you learn this approach? It’s all about finding your individual groove along with implementing some tried and true methods.

Vaughn College has done the research for you. Think of this as our holiday gift to you. We have outlined 10 fun and strategic work and study tips to help lighten the mood so you can get the most out of your work or study time.

  1. Location, location, location—Switching up where you study or work is proving to be a productive way to force your brain to associate material with specific locations, which in turn strengthens your sense of memory. Try visiting familiar places, such as your favorite coffee shop. You’ll be surprised how it can help you focus while keeping things fresh in your head. Plus, drinking a cup of coffee or tea can help keep you alert.
  2. Get moving—Did you know walking and keeping your body physically active can increase your brain’s processing speed and improve cognitive function? It’s true and so easy to do. Take a break and go for a walk – when you come back, you’ll have a renewed sense of motivation and refreshed perspective, which is especially helpful for writing research papers or doing project work.
  3. Tune in—Research reveals studying to music is a great stress reliever. We all have our favorite tunes, but classical music tops the list as the best for relieving anxiety and stress. Check out our blog―Studying to Music Can Put Your Brain in the Right Frame of Mind―for more of an in-depth explanation.
  4. Chew on this—You may get a green light from your dentist with the news that chewing gum or snacking on crunchy foods stimulates your mind and keeps you focused. Plus, it gives your brain a boost when it needs it most.
  5. Work in color—Using different colored index cards, sticky notes and even ink when taking notes is a great way to help with your visual memory and can be a game-changer to studying effectively. It not only helps with categorizing information but makes studying more visually stimulating. Also, ditch the highlighter if you’re using one. It can have an adverse effect. Simply highlighting information in a textbook or in notes is passive – it doesn’t require active understanding or output. Taking notes or making flash cards is a far more effective way to boost retention and recall.
  6. Story time—Some information can be overwhelming to remember. Try turning the details into either a funny story or something that you can relate to. It’s a fun way to recall the information and is a great stress reliever, too. You might even discover the writer in you!
  7. Distracted? There’s an app for that—We all do it. Checking social media pages and emails can be a huge distraction when you need to focus. Did you know there’s an app for that? It’s called FocusMe. It’s a great tool to help you unplug and keep you focused when you need to be.
  8. Bedtime brain boost—You may be sleepy, but did you know studying before bedtime is one of the best ways to increase retention? Here’s how. While you’re sleeping, your brain strengthens new memories, thus allowing you to remember what you read before falling asleep. (Just remember to keep your books and notes out of your bed. You need a good night’s sleep.)
  9. Try spaced repetition—This new learning technique is all about breaking down information into smaller more digestible sections and then reviewing them consistently over time. For example, instead of trying to memorize large scale blocks of information, you can learn smaller sections every day. The key is to review each section before starting a new one.
  10. Break time—Give yourself a break—lots of them. Long cramming sessions can leave you feeling overwhelmed and diminishes retention. Instead, schedule shorter sessions and take breaks in between. You’ll feel recharged and ready to focus.

Other helpful study tips:

  • Make a study and work schedule
  • Declutter your space
  • Quiz yourself on material
  • Recopy your notes by hand instead of typing them
  • Read information out loud
  • Create an outline for a research paper (before you start writing)
  • Conduct research in a timely manner
  • Try mediation or yoga
  • Treat yourself to a holiday cookie or your favorite snack

When all is said and done, just remember your grades do not define your worth. Just do your best. Your mental health and well-being are what truly matter.