I graduated from college just over a year ago and I swear my last paper as a senior was written the day before it was due. Am I proud of this? Maybe a little, but I don't recommend it. Instead of pushing down your throat how you should study the entire semester and color code your notes, I'm going to give you the 10 ways I managed to get an A in every course, except economics because it sucked and it was right around the time I had an addiction to Fruit Ninja.
Studying doesn't have to be this thing you worry about all semester. As long as you go to class on a regular basis and actually try on your assignments, these 10 methods should help you get a good grade on your exam without you needing to spend every night in the library all semester long. I'm not advocating leaving your studying for the last minute, but let's be honest, you're going to. So for all my expert procrastinators out there, here's how to do it without losing your mind.
Have your headphones at all times.Dorm rooms are loud, especially when your roommate has all take home exams. (Stares at with jealousy.) With most people flocking to the library for the first time all semester come finals time, you cant even count on that space to be quiet. Study groups, people eating Doritos, people listening to Taylor Swift on their headphones way too loud (me) are all reasons why you need your headphones with you always. Plus, nothing is more motivating than a Taylor, Beyonce, Nicki playlist. Trust me, you'll love it.
Spotify or Pandora for those of us who can't decide.I'm definitely guilty of getting sucked into skipping song after song, wasting way too much time trying to find the perfect playlist and next thing I know an hour has passed and my study playlist may be perfect but I haven't actually studied. Both Spotify and Pandora have great radio/playlist options to help you avoid wasting any time.
Stock up on food ahead of time.My favorite excuse to get out of studying is needing to go buy food, because hello, you can't study on an empty stomach! Don't fall for your own lies, buy food and snacks ahead of time so that you don't have a reason to make a quick run to 7 Eleven. Plus, you can use these same snacks as a reward when you finish reviewing those long chapters.
Visit office hours before the semester ends.Listen, I totally get it, office hours are the worst. Professors and teaching assistants basically beg you to show up, promising that you can just stop by to chat or ask a quick question. But what happens the moment you do show up? Awkward silence and/or you have to stand outside and wait because some other student has never heard of this thing called the syllabus. Even though it feels weird, go! Take the time to write down every question you have and just ask them, if you're lucky there will already be a group of people there to make the one on one interaction less likely.
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Befriend at least one other person in the course.My only goal the first week of class is to form a relationship with one other person, just one! Why? Because there will come a day when I sleep in or need to be in line somewhere for free tickets, and on that day I will need to have the notes of whatever I missed. Having a friend in the class will give you a person to reach out to when you have a quick question plus someone to remind you that the paper was pushed to another due date.
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Form a study group, in real life or online.Students at my university were super into sending mass emails to everyone in the class in order to share Google Docs or a location of where everyone would be meeting to study. It feels weird at first to write an email that 300+ people are going to read but just do it! Why waste time finding the answers to all the study guide questions when you can just split that work up into pieces?
Save time by looking at the chapter summary.Let's be honest for a moment, 99% of us don't open the book until it's exam time, which means aint nobody got time to be catching up on all that reading. I'm not here to judge you, props to you for even buying the book! If you don't have time to read every freaking sentence, take time to read the chapter summary, then focus on the points mentioned there. If it was important enough to be mentioned in the synopsis, chances are there will be a question on it.
You can't study if you don't have all your notes in one place, haven't seen your book in weeks and lack the basic essentials like highlighters. Spend an hour getting all your supplies together so once you start you don't have to stop everything to find that handout from week two.
Get your shit together, I mean, get organized.
Read the syllabus.Nothing is worse than being one of those students that asks a question that could be easily answered had they looked at the syllabus. Besides exam dates and book requirements, your syllabus most likely outlines what will be covered each day of class. If your professor spent three lectures on abc but only one on day lecturing on xyz, chances are they are more likely to ask you questions on abc. Your syllabus is an outline of the most important points to cover, so take advantage of it!
Force yourself to have some self control.Some people have the skills necessary to be able to put down their phone and get down to business, then there's the rest of us. I swear I think I almost failed economics because I was determined to get a high score on Fruit Ninja, but don't be like me. Take advantage of apps like StayFocusd that lock you out of your Facebook account and other social media websites.
Is there anything you do to help you focus while you study? I'd love to hear your #1 distraction or motivator in the comments below.