How to prepare for finals

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Adequately preparing for finals is often difficult, but there are ways to ease the stress.

1. Disconnect from technology

Students love spending their time doing anything but homework. Procrastination is a part of every student’s life, and it is no different during finals week. Facebook, Netflix and Hulu are staples of the ever-popular student procrastination diet. Many students can fall victim to the “next episode playing in …” trap that Netflix so cleverly includes in its service.

“I get distracted by watching Netflix and vegging out, being on Facebook and on my phone, texting people,” said Savannah Groom, a senior in exercise science from California.

Social media and TV shows don’t disappear during finals week. Temporarily unsubscribing from streaming services and completely logging out of social media can help students focus on the task at hand so they can prepare effectively for finals.

2. Avoid unproductive snacking

Food is an attractive enemy during finals week. Cramming one’s stomach always seems like a better option than cramming one’s head. The pantry never moves, and food breaks are just another distraction that plagues students every semester.

Riley Bushman, an Arizona senior in economics, said he usually gets hungry when he’s trying to study. “I find excuses to go get lunch or something like that,” Bushman said.

The body needs sufficient nourishment to function properly. Students should eat balanced and nutritious meals throughout the day to keep themselves full and prevent hunger pangs. They should beware of eating too many snack breaks or of eating out of boredom.

3. Join a study group

Studying with a group can be an effective way to process the information students are reviewing. Study groups are meant to help students learn the material and build a support group for challenging tests.

“You’re kind of required to sit there and contribute,” Bushman said. “I think group study sessions where everyone is focused and everyone is contributing help me. I feel like I bunker down more.”

Another benefit of studying in groups is that a group member may be able to explain a concept or problem that was previously confusing.

4. Get creative

Students shouldn’t be afraid to mix up the usual routine of note cards and Google Docs. They can find something else to help them stay focused while remembering the information they study.

Matt Bonham, a Louisiana senior in exercise science, uses a different kind of method to retain the information he studies.

“I have a big whiteboard at home,” Bonham said. “So what I like to do is spend an entire day in which I take one subject and go through all of the Powerpoints from class, and I use those with the whiteboard to teach imaginary people in my house.”

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