Ten Tips for Finals Week!
1) Know your learning style
First things first: what kind of learner are you? Find out more about learning styles here: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/type-of-learner-infographic/
There are a lot of different study methods: making a study guide (handwritten or on google docs/Word), studying from one you find online, using flashcards, color-coding your notes, quizzing yourself, etc. Find the one that works better according to your learning style and stick to it!
2) Organization is key
Set up a quiet, comfortable and distraction-free study space. It should make you feel inspired to concentrate, learn and it should remind your brain that it’s work time. You can listen to music as long as it doesn’t distract you (brain.fm has some cool sounds that help with concentration, they have a free trial period).
Some people work better in the morning, others better at night. For two days, keep track of your energy level every two hours, giving yourself a rating of 1 (falling asleep in class) to 5 (super-focused) from the time you wake up until you go to bed. Use the times you are most energized to study for your most difficult tests.
Make sure you have all the notes necessary for your finals; if you’re missing material ask for notes from a classmate. Review and/or incorporate them in your study guide.
3) Clarify the content and format of your finals
Multiple choice or free response? Essay? What chapters will be covered? Teachers will always tell their students the format of their finals. Don’t forget to ask.
4) Create a study schedule - and follow it
Splitting the material into chunks can be very beneficial. That way, you can keep track of what you’ve accomplished instead of panicking last minute. Some exams will be more difficult than others; some may be worth more to your grade than others. Make sure to evaluate all of your exams, considering all of the involved factors, so you can plan your study schedule accordingly.
5) Take breaks but avoid distractions
You might want to adopt the 50-10 Rule: study 50 minutes of every hour, and use the last 10 minutes to clear your mind. You will study more efficiently if you spread things out and take breaks. The idea is that you should turn off Facebook and keep your phone away to be able to focus 100% during those 50 minutes and use the remaining time to recharge and relax yourself. Don’t forget to time your break though, or you might end up with a 30 minute study session and a 3 hour break! :)
Try to lay off of Facebook until finals are over; it really makes a difference! You don’t need to deactivate your account, just make sure to watch the time you spend on it. You go on Facebook to ask a question in a group/to a friend about a test, you get distracted with a post on your newsfeed, with a video, with a group chat, and when you look at your clock, two hours have passed. Classic! Who can say they’ve never been guilty of that?
6) Study in groups only if it’s beneficial for you
You can learn and memorize by teaching the material to a friend and it can be helpful to study in groups; minds working together can help explain and retain concepts that you perhaps did not originally understand. However, evaluate whether or not studying with others will be beneficial for the specific subject and if it fits your learning style: a study group only works if you are able to focus and stay serious.
7) Avoid cramming and get a good night’s sleep
Try to reserve the day before the final for a general review. If cramming is inevitable, don’t stay up until 3AM studying; avoid all-nighters at all costs before your finals. Sleep-deprivation ignites your “reptile brain” and this is especially detrimental if it happens before math finals. It’s important for your brain to be functioning so you can remember the material learned. Check this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071130162518.htm
8) Use the resources available to you.
You can find study guides on the following websites:
Also, you can find a few review sheets on the Social Studies Department section of the Stuy website, and Khan Academy, Quizlet, and Crash Course help a lot as well!
9) Get help when needed
Sign up for ARISTA tutoring if you’re struggling with any subjects (they’re awesome!). Many of our very own Big Sibs are ARISTA tutors as well.
The following tutoring resources are available all year long at Stuy:
AIS tutoring: Student tutors with a teacher coming around to answer any other questions, once a week after tenth period. Here is the schedule: http://stuy.enschool.org/pdf/AIS_Tutoring_Schedule_Fall_2015.pdf
Peer tutoring: sign up on the ARISTA website to schedule a one on one tutoring session with an ARISTA member through their website:
If you have any trouble navigating the ARISTA website, don’t hesitate to ask your Big Sibs, they can help you!
Talk to your Big Sibs! Whether it is advice about study methods, study guides (they might be able to find some for you!), or how to handle the stress/fatigue of finals week, we’re here for you!
10) Finals are over, now what?
Reward yourself: hang out with your friends, buy yourself a treat; you deserve it! If you didn’t do so well as you wished on one of your finals, don’t dwell on it. You still have second semester to get your grades up. But never forget: grades do not define who you are. Work hard, but allow yourself time to grow as a person. There are many things to be learned in life outside of the classroom.
Lastly, always remember to....
Wishing you all the best,
Rick and the Big Sib Chairs