I don’t think it would be a far stretch to compare finals week at CNU to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. While lacking in savagery, the competition for empty chairs and tables, the struggle to extend the last bit of printer funds, and the lines for sustenance (aka Einstein’s) certainly make for an intense environment.
What’s a tribute—I mean student—to do? Thanks to years worth of cultivating the ultimate study-nerd techniques, I’ve compiled a quick list of things you can do to make studying and taking exams a little bit easier on yourself.
- Take advantage of the early hours to scout for spots in the Trible Library
With the proper timing, you can ensure that you will be able to find an ideal spot to study in the library. Get to the library too late in the day, and you might find yourself on the floor—it does fill up pretty quickly! I usually start my day at 9 a.m. and leave for the library, which certainly has its advantages: when it’s early and not many students are around, you’ll have that peace and quiet you need.
- Don’t use all your Dining Dollars at once—frugality is key to maximizing all the coffee you can get
CNU’s meal plans include Dining Dollars. I like to use mine sparingly during the semester, so that when finals do come around, I have plenty of extra cash to buy all the hot coffee and bagels I need.
- Section off your study hours, instead of trying to mash them all together
Before I study, I usually make a schedule of all the things I want to accomplish while at the library, typically divided into hours. So, for one hour I’ll study for this class, for one hour I’ll study for that class, and for 30 minutes I’ll take a break. Having a clear set of goals makes studying a lot easier and prevents overlap. Also, don’t forget to stand up and walk around for a while.
- Stay well nourished and hydrated
While I love coffee as much as the next person, that alone is not sufficient for getting you through the day. Studying takes a ton of brain power, so make sure you start off with a filling breakfast and water throughout the day.
- Cap the day off with a good night’s sleep
A long day of studying can make your brain infinitely tired, so why exhaust your body as well? Nothing is more motivating than waking up feeling ready to conquer your next set of study notes, but you might not be able to if you’ve stayed up until 1 a.m. Just think about it this way: once you make it through your finals, you’ll have all the nights in the world during winter break to stay up late.
- Don’t cram the day of the exam, it’ll only make you second-guess yourself
Please, please, please do not cram for exams, especially the day of the test. Putting it bluntly, if you’ve waited this long to study anyways, you really won’t learn much from the few hours of reading your notes before the exam. And if you have studied beforehand, use the time you have to boost yourself up! I’ve found that when I go over my notes intensely before the final, I usually end up second-guessing what I’ve learned. Don’t overanalyze, just go with your gut!