Studying for success: Practical tips for final exams

The week that Liberty University students have been tediously preparing for all semester is here — finals week. With only a few days left to prepare for all the tests, presentations and projects, schedules can become overwhelming. As students prepare themselves for the end of the school year, a few tips and tricks can come in handy to help propel the academic endeavors of Liberty students and lighten the weight on their shoulders. 

1. Get quality sleep 

As simple as this tip may be, it truly makes an incredible difference on a person’s mood and efforts throughout the day. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, “Sleep helps with learning and the formation of long-term memories. Not getting enough sleep or enough high-quality sleep can lead to problems focusing on tasks and thinking clearly.”  The better the quality of sleep a person gets, the better they can study and focus. Getting good sleep before the big test or presentation day will also keep students alert and more focused on the task at hand.

2. Be sure to get proper nutrition 

Finding time to have fully balanced, energizing meals is critical when preparing for finals. Food is fuel and allows the mind to be more focused. According to an article by the University of California, Berkeley, “When you nourish your body with nutrients throughout the day, your energy levels remain constant to help power you through those studying sessions.” In order to offer these high energy levels, experts recommend a particular eating routine. According to the Hospital for Special Surgery’s website, “Eating regular meals and snacks helps keep your energy at an even level, without highs and lows. Aim to eat every three to four hours. That means three small-to-moderate-size meals and two snacks.” 

3. Plan ahead 

Everyone knows that when finals week hits, it can seem impossible to plan anything in between all the studying and hard work. However, planning out study times along with breaks and social time can be a major benefit. This not only reduces stress but helps increase motivation. Prioritizing the most important items on the to-do list is also helpful,
especially when needing to multitask. Completing larger projects or studying for the most difficult class first may help diminish the stress a student might have regarding finals. 

4. Study in intervals

Healthy minds and bodies need to take breaks when studying. Although cramming all the information into one study session may seem like the easiest option, it is better to plan and study in intervals. Finding a rhythm that works best for an individual can boost memory and motivation better than cramming could. Taking breaks with appropriate timing is also important to get in the proper meals and quality sleep that are needed to succeed.  According to University of California San Diego’s Department of Psychology, “This is known as ‘spaced practice’ or ‘distributed practice.’ By ‘spacing’ learning activities out over time (for example, 1 to 2 hours every other day, or at least once per week, rather than a 12-hour marathon cramming session), you will be able to learn more information and retain it longer.” 

5. Eliminate distractions 

Almost anything can become a distraction if someone allows it to. Phones, social media and friends can easily become detrimental factors in preparing for finals. Unfortunately, it is so easy to reach for a cell phone and end up scrolling for two hours. During the weeks of prepping for finals, eliminating distractions is crucial. This can be as simple as turning on “do not disturb” on a cell phone or as extreme as booking a study room with no external distractions for hours. A great alternative to the distractions is setting apart time to spend with friends or on electronics to give the mind a break and a refresh. Setting boundaries when prepping for finals will make time allotted for studying smoother and more focused.

Eva Long is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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