With the semester drawing to a close and comprehensive exams looming, Bobcats across campus are buckling down to pass their class finals.
While the infamous all-night study session is a reality for many students, experts and administrators agree it does not have to be. With some careful time management and organization, students facing a brutal exam schedule can ease their anxiety and decrease the number of sleepless nights spent mentally chained to textbooks and an Alkek desk.
Get some rest the night before a test
While it can be tempting to wait until the pressure is on, sacrificing sleep is not conducive to better grades. For years, research has shown students learn better by keeping a regular study schedule than by staying up late in an attempt to soak in whatever they did not learn during the semester.
“Why would I stay awake all night forcing information just to be a zombie the next day?” said Tiffany Young, student body president-elect. “It doesn’t make sense.”
Exhausted is no way to spend finals week. Even a nap is better than nothing.
Prioritize the time that’s left
Focusing on a growing study and assignment list eats away precious study hours. Instead of stressing about the amount that needs to be done, Bobcats can choose to bite off manageable pieces.
“I manage the stress by taking it one subject at a time,” said graduate student Rebekah Ruiz. “I never think of the big picture of finals.”
Focus on the least familiar material first
One way to break up the monotony is to concentrate study time where it is needed most. If the periodic table of the elements makes sense, but the Declaration of Independence sounds like gibberish, study history before chemistry.
Create a schedule and stick to it
Every student is different, so it is important for Bobcats to find what works for them. For some, focus comes easy and hours of studying seem like nothing. For others, a stringent on-off pattern can help keep their brain where it needs to be.
Young’s ritual begins two days before her finals, with a day of rest and hydration followed by a day of intense studying for the test coming up.
“I will study a maximum of 10 hours and then get a good night’s rest,” Young said. “I take the rule ‘30 minutes of studying, 10 minutes of free time’ very seriously.”
While finals may seem like the end of the world, the motivational hang-in-there posters around campus remind students it will all be over in a few days.
“The thought that it’s almost over, and I can rest in a few more days keeps me going,” Ruiz said. “I look forward to downtime to catch up on movies, shows or sunbathing.”