Most of you are in the midst of wrapping up your semesters, either by cramming for those dreaded final exams or writing ridiculously long research papers.
Throughout this process, the future might seem bleak. I’ve been there — sometimes it’s hard to imagine that you WILL actually be able to conquer those three finals, nail that presentation and write a killer research paper — but I promise you will make it.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Summer break is just around the corner, even if it seems like the furthest thing away right now. If you’re having a hard time staying motivated, try to accentuate all of the positives. For example, maybe you need to ace those finals to graduate with a high GPA or maybe you’ll be done with all of your math classes at the end of this semester. Whatever it is that you’ll be celebrating, make sure to write it down and put it on a Post-It close to where you study. When you’re lagging behind, take a look at your note(s) for inspiration!
Take a break (every now and then).
Just because you have exams doesn’t mean you have to focus on studying all week. Enjoy the fact that you don’t have to go to classes and take some relaxation time to hang out with your friends. Go to the pool for an afternoon or enjoy drinks with a friend. After all, you’ll be leaving all of your friends for summer break, so enjoy the moments you have left with them while you’re all still in the same city. You will be so glad you did this once you actually sit down to study — and it gives you something to look forward to after a long night of studying!
Create a studying agenda.
What helped me the most during exam week was to create a study agenda. I would look at when I had exams and strategically plan to study for at least two exams every day. I spread out my time studying for cumulative exams as much as possible and planned it on a chapter-by-chapter basis. Whenever I studied for cumulative exams, I would make a point to glance over what I had studied on previous days just to make sure I still knew the material. If I was consistently having problems with certain points in the material, I would add it to a list so that I knew I needed to look those over the night before the exam.
Absolutely no cramming!
I’ve made it a rule not to look over any notes right before I take an exam. In fact, I try to avoid studying for an exam the day of at all costs. Not only will it add extra stress, it will force you to try to memorize facts that should already be ingrained into your brain at this point. I like to walk into exams with a clean slate and cool composure. If you don’t know the information by the time you sit down in that chair, there’s no way you’ll know it after five minutes of ferociously ripping through your notecards.