Studying for Finals Efficiently and Effectively
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Studying for Finals Efficiently and Effectively

That time of year that work hard, play hard becomes work hard, work harder.

Ah, it's the most wonderful time of the year. And unfortunately, it happens to coincide with finals.

While studying for finals is awful, it's a time to reflect how fortunate you are to have the higher education opportunities you have and it's also a time to stock the fuck up on all the free snacks.

Here is my best shot at tips to follow during this wonderful finals szn.

1. Go light on the coffee.
As the coffee fiend I am, it hurts to say this. However, I stand by my words. Yes, a cup here and a cup there with a couple hours in between won't hurt you.

However, I will warn you against taking two shots of espresso and following up with another two venti fresh brews. I am currently watching my roommate trying to study for her math final but she can't stop twitching because she drank too much coffee. You will be too wired for your own good and you'll probably have a terrible night of sleep, which leads to difficulty retaining the information you worked so hard to obtain.

Trust me, I'm not trying to take your coffee away from you, just try toning it down. You need a lot less than you think you do.

2. Sleep, sleep, and sleep some more.
Sleep as in light, deep and REM...not sleep as in with that guy down the hall. Getting a good night's rest is like that lunch date with a friendly acquaintance you've been meaning to do for months now: you say you'll make it happen but deep down you know it never will.

Well, it's finals time now so you actually need to get it done. Sleep is SO much more important than you realize.

When you get deep sleep, you are boosting your immune system amongst other wonderful benefits. You need to get through finals week without catching a cold, and you'd be surprised to find that the best way of avoiding one isn't by consuming copious amounts of Vitamin C.

Also, when you get REM sleep, you are replenishing your body's supply of chemicals like serotonin, which boosts your mood, and you are also consolidating memories. Without REM sleep, you're studying will be ineffective and those 200 paintings memorized for art history? Out the window because your mind won't be able to consolidate the memories from studying. My point is clear: GET SOME SLEEP.

3. Get 30 minutes of exercise.
Getting oxygen to your brain can work miracles. Even if for only 10 minutes, do something to get your heart pumping. Run around the main quad, do 100 jumping jacks, or do something or someone else (if you catch my drift).

Whatever you decide to do, you will see the difference when you come back to study more. Your concentration will be heightened and it will be so much easier to sit down, think clearly and use your time effectively.

4. Drink copious amounts (of water).
Maybe this is something my mom made up, but constantly drinking water while studying is a necessity for me.

Every time my mind would get foggy, I'd take a swig. Every time I got bored and started losing focus, I'd take a swig...with lemon. Every time I got sleepy and my eyes got tired, I'd take a swig...with ice! There are so many ways to refresh yourself with some good ole' H2O. I highly suggest.

5. Keep eating normally.
I am guilty of trespassing this commandment. When I get extremely stressed, my body freaks out and I don't get hungry nor do I think of food. On days I'm anxious about an assignment or test, I practically have to force feed myself otherwise I would go a full day without eating but a couple of pretzels. However, eating normal amounts of good food is such a necessity to study well.

You need brain food to function! Imagine trying to drive a car without just doesn't work (don't be the smart ass to say, oh what if it's electric). Also, most importantly, don't forget to have a good breakfast the day of your final. It will help so much--if not your grade then at least you had something yummy to eat that day.

6. Find your distraction free zone (which sometimes isn't the library).
Although all my friends adore studying every night in the library, I absolutely despise it. It's too cold, too big and way too social to actually get anything done.

Some libraries are better and quieter than others, but I find my distraction free zones to be my own room and coffee shops. I can tune everything out and tune in to my work. Explore to find a place on or off campus that helps you work as productively and efficiently as possible.

7. Work with a study buddy or two.
I think it never hurts to study with someone else. Whether it be that god awful linear algebra class or organic chem, working with a study buddy or study group can help alleviate the misery. They split the misery of studying for a difficult subject amongst a crowd, help you learn important things you might not have paid attention to if you were alone and provide you with someone to explain things clearly.

Imagine: instead of wasting time sitting in your room alone, agonizing over the problem you can't solve and the box of brownies you just scarfed down, you're quickly getting three problem sets done! Trust me, study groups are the way to go. Plus you can make new friends to hang out with after finals hell week is over. Cheers!

8. Take a deep breath.
Yeah, sounds stupid but sometimes all you need in life is to calm the fuck down and remind yourself that the world is not ending. You are taking a test.

You are privileged enough to have a shot at becoming a part of the 6.7 percent of the world population that has the opportunity to hold a college degree, so do everyone a favor and stop complaining about it. Take another deep breath, put things into perspective, then proceed studying and kicking ass.

9. Stay positive.
Although this piece of advice stems partly from my argument in #8, and is partly because I simply don't want to hear you complain, I truly believe in the power of staying positive. Pretty much everyone is in the exact same boat as you, so your complaining and pessimism is just wasting precious studying time!

I also believe that thinking positively about future outcomes for a final, or for anything for that matter, will bring good forces to you and your life. Studying and taking the exam will be so much easier if you stay positive: congratulate yourself for understanding something or solving a problem correctly, and work harder to understand things that are confusing instead of badgering yourself by saying that you will fail.

Go into the test with high spirits, a pleasant outlook and hope for the best. If you worked hard and studied as much as you could, that is the best you could do. Might as well have a good attitude about it than be that pessimist that brings down everyone's day, including your own.

10. Stop doing precisely what you're doing right now: procrastinating.
Now that you have all the tricks of the trade, get your ass off this article and go study. No further comment.

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    Classes |  Source:

    Finals Week as Told by Hamilton


    It's that time of the year again....I'm not referring to the holiday season (I wish I was...), but rather to the not-nearly-as-merry finals season. Students across the nation are preparing themselves for never-ending biology cram sessions, for 10 page APA essays, and for breaking the world record for most consecutive hours without sleep, caffeinated or uncaffeinated.

    As a fun little study break, which in my mind is crucial in order to remain sane during exams, I've compiled a list of finals week moments that you'll undoubtedly experience or witness in the coming weeks....told exclusively through Hamilton gifs.

    You stayed up until 4 a.m. studying for your 9 a.m. Bio exam, you're in need of caffeine in order to begin functioning, and the Starbucks line is out the door, down the street...

    When you finally realize the extent to which you procrastinated on literally everything leading up to the end of the semester.

    When there's that one freshman in your Advanced Stats lecture that somehow has the highest grade in the class and you ask them how on earth they've been doing so well, when you understand exactly nothing.

    When you thought you were being proactive by starting your American Lit final essay early, but the professor changes the requirements after you've finished writing half of it.

    That feeling when the professor says, "We won't be having a final during exam week."

    When Einstein's in the library is closed and you feel personally betrayed by the one place that has always faithfully carbed up your study sessions.

    When you're tutoring a failing student for their upcoming history exam, they STILL don't understand anything you've taught them, and you're slowly losing your patience and your mind.

    When your Stats grade is posted and you see that your hard work actually paid off for once. #WORK

    When everyone else is done with their finals and you have a test on the last possible time slot the Friday of finals week.

    And when it's finally all over, you're going home, and you have no academic obligations for a whole month...

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    Classes |  Source: @easley.morgan

    How to Get Up Early and Stay Awake

    It can be done without your caffeine addiction.

    Every one of us at some point has had to get up for an early class. Some days we were fine rolling out of bed, but there were also those times where we contemplated just skipping class for more sleep (raise your hand if guilty).

    Getting up early is not easy, but there are a few hacks I've been able to think up that naturally wake you up without standing in line for coffee or taking an energy shot.

    1. Shower and exercise in the morning.
    Quite a few people do this anyway, but I highly recommend it if you don't. Remember when your parents would talk about dousing you with water if you didn't wake up? Well, even if your parents didn't, there's truth to that statement.

    Water (especially cold water) will wake you up and take the sleep out of your system, and why not get a wake up core workout in while you are at instead of freaking out about when you'll do it later?

    2. Get seven to nine hours of shut-eye.
    It isn't easy to get those recommended hours in, but it will do wonders for your system. You may pride yourself on being able to go on three hours of sleep, but eventually your body will rebel and you will easily need at least 12 hours to recuperate at some point.

    Your body is much more likely to stay awake if you get the proper amount of sleep. Plus, what college student doesn't like sleep?

    3. Heat up your room.
    Yup. Instead of having arctic weather in your room, warm it up a little. Personally, I won't get out of bed for a while if my room is super cold because I don't want to put my feet (or any part of me for that matter) outside my warm cocoon of sheets and blankets.

    If you warm up your room, you can avoid this, making it much easier to psych yourself up to get out of bed in the early mornings.

    4. Drink water the night before.
    Okay, this is kind of a cheat, but if you drink water before you go to bed, you will wake up needing to pee like a race horse. This method is only for those that have a horrendous time waking up in the mornings, but this will certainly get you out of bed.

    I say water because water is good for you and it will clean out your system better than something with caffeine will (and caffeine makes you stay awake, btw.)

    5. Sing it loud and proud.
    In the car or shower, sing it out. You will not only wake up your voice, but also your body. If you pick a power ballad, rock song, or whatever makes you move around, you will be rearing to go for the day.

    Personally, I think the car is the best place to sing because there is no chance that anyone can hear you if you have a bad voice, and you can sing however loud you want. If you ride with someone, sing together and duet.

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    Classes |  Source: @zayj96

    Your Final Exams in Gifs

    Gifs can get you through anything.

    Gifs, they get you through everything, even through your final exams. Trust me, you will need these gifs to get through these last few days of the semester.
    How everyone feels during reading days:
    That feeling you get 0.00001 seconds after turning in your last exam of the semester:
    Everyone's reaction when they read the first question:
    When you find out that you did better than one of your classmates:
    When the professor says the final will be cumulative:
    The face you make as you're at the end of pulling an all-nighter trying to cram for you 8 a.m. final:
    What almost everyone is saying as they take their exams:
    The last words you tell your professor as you walk out the door:
    When you realize there is no hope for passing the final:
    A statement that runs through your mind as you take your math final:
    When your friend is talking about how easy that final exam was ... after you just failed:
    What you do when you realize that all your last minute cramming doesn't mean shit:
    Your reaction when you finally have all your science course requirements completed:
    What you tell yourself in the mirror when contemplating whether you should go out or not:
    The perfect advice to remember during exams:
    What everyone is saying as they count down the minutes until the end of the exams:
    When you find out you passed an exam you were positive that you failed:
    When you surprisingly remember the answer to a question:
    When you try to memorize all the information 10 minutes before your exam:
    What you say to your friend who did amazing on their finals but you did terrible:
    The first words you say at the end of the semester:
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    Classes |  Source:

    What I've Learned From Failing A Midterm

    Read this before you have to learn the hard way.

    As a first semester college student, I've had a lot of "firsts." Sadly, one of those "firsts" was failing a midterm. It was horrifying. I studied for hours, re-watched lectures, watched crash courses (shoutout to high school history), and took intense notes during lectures.

    I was told all throughout high school that if you dedicate your time to college, it will be a breeze. College is not a breeze.

    It doesn't matter how much time you dedicate to your classes or whether you write or type your notes just because you've been told that handwriting notes is better for memorization than typing. The key is how you manage your time with each class.

    What I thought: The key to lectures is writing down notes as fast as you can not worrying about how sloppy they may be.
    What I've learned: Downloading the powerpoint and typing notes underneath is more beneficial as you can keep up with your professor. Only when you study for the exam should you write out all of your notes and powerpoint topics. This is a good way to keep notes organized so that you will not have to waste time trying to figure it out later.

    What I thought: Re-watching lectures is a good way to review the material.
    What I've learned: If you don't dedicate all of your attention to the recorded lecture, you won't retain information and you will have wasted your valuable time. By retaking notes during the video lecture, you're bound to catch more information and it will make sense.

    What I thought: Reading the books, chapter by chapter, is an efficient way to understand information.
    What I've learned: You will waste hours reading entire chapters. Skip the chapter and re-read the power points and your notes. Only use the book for clarification.

    What I thought: The only place to study is in the library.
    What I've learned: There are a myriad of places on college campuses to study and switching up your routine study spot may give you a fresh feeling and help you retain more information.

    While failing a midterm felt like the worst possible thing at the time may have actually benefited me. I learned that what I was doing wasn't working, and that I needed to find more effective ways to study.

    You can study all you want, but if it doesn't work for you, it doesn't work. As discouraged as you may feel, it is important to pull yourself back up and continue to work hard at improvement and progress.

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    Classes |  Source: (edited)

    Four Ways All Nighters Are Destroying Your Body

    Finals fifteen anyone??

    Fact: I am known for perpetually pulling all-nighters. You could say I've had years worth of experience, dating back to my elementary school days when I refused to fall asleep due to my early onset FOMO.
    I didn't reach pro status until my freshman year of college when I pulled not one, but two all nighters in a row for a politics paper all thanks to stress, coffee, and having a partner in crime to take on the madness.
    I may joke about this "skill" and take solace in my peers taking on the challenge, but I think we can all agree that all-nighters can't be good for our health. I don't know about you, but I feel like I've probably cut days, if not years of my life off from the lack of sleep in college. Totally worth it for that piece of paper we get crossing the stage, right???
    I'll let you decide that for yourself. In the meantime, here are some pretty alarming facts about what those all-nighters are actually doing to our body-- besides making us look insane.
    You'll Likely Gain Weight
    In addition to being awake for more hours (aka more time to snack), when you don't sleep your body responds by creating changes in hormone production. Two of these major hormone changes occur with an increase in Ghrelin (aka hormone which tells us when to eat), and a reduction in Leptin production (aka the hormone that tells us when to put down the food).
    Talk about a terrible combo. It's no wonder I always crave the chocolate and chips at four in the morning... Finals 15 anyone??
    The Caffeine Hurts Your Heart
    I don't know about you, but I feel like I could practically be sponsored based on the alarming amount of coffee I consume on a daily basis, exorbitantly worse during exam weeks. Caffeine was the only way I could get through those nights, admittedly slightly shaking and delusional.
    While caffeine does give us that initial "high," that spike means you're doomed for the eventual crash and burn. If that weren't enough, it turns out that long term caffeine use can actually cause anxiety and irregular heart rhythms. Yikes!

    Your Brain Stops Functioning
    When you have an exam the next day, it's only reasonable you attempt to memorize the material from the entire semester in one night, right? Might seem like a somewhat effective strategy given how common it's used, but in reality "your brain loses efficiency with each hour of sleep deprivation."
    Meaning, you'll have trouble remembering all those terms you stayed up trying to memorize. Yet again, karma strikes.

    Your Stomach Will Hate You
    Ever wake up after three hours of sleep and your stomach feels like it has a bomb ticking inside? There's a reason for that. When you don't sleep, your body can't break down and filter the glucose (sugar) from the previous day.
    Do this regularly, and it can actually lead to permanent damage- I'm talking diabetes or kidney failure. On second thought, taking that one bad grade on a paper is starting to sound like not such a bad thing after all...