Forget About Cramming

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By Tyler Williamson
Staff Writer

Let’s face it, everyone fears the end of the semester or school year because of what seems to be a never ending heap of assignments to do and finals to study for. Everyone’s mind works differently, so some of us may be able to sit in a library for hours reading a psychology textbook, while others would rather bash their head on a brick wall.

Studying for difficult tests such as midterms and finals does not have to be boring and mundane. The key to getting the most out of a studying session is by using what tools are the most effective for you. The first step for success is to “tell ourselves” to study. This is always the most tricky step when preparing to study. We can talk ourselves out of sitting down at our desk and cracking a book open for days and days on end because our hectic lifestyle. But how long really does it take to read a couple chapters out of a book and make some flashcards? And finally once we get that motivation and realize studying is not so agonizing after all, we can get some progress made.

After the big step we make by sitting down to review the material for our finals, we need to actually comprehend all the stuff on paper and in our notes to get somewhere and there are some tricks to help us get there. We need a good environment to keep our concentration at its finest, and whether it is a desk in your bedroom or sitting on the floor in a corner of the dorm, having attentiveness is vitally important. Some people may find that listening to quiet music while studying is calming and can help with focusing on getting the thoughts down on paper, but some people find listening to music just downright distracting. And speaking of distractions, log out of Facebook! Spending endless hours on Facebook updating your statuses about how stressed you are and “creeping” other people’s pictures from last night’s party will not help you get a better grade on your biology final. If you even need your computer at all, make your toolbar have only the necessities such as Microsoft Word to jot down notes or PowerPoint slides from your class’ lectures.

Back to the environment situation, make sure you are comfortable. If there is a lack of fresh air and ventilation and the room is too warm, you will end up doing more snoozing than studying. And if you catch yourself flagging in and out of sleep, try quirks like drawing pictures, making mnemonic devices and acronyms, or even acting out or singing the schoolwork as a song or skit. Making the studying fun for ourselves is how the A’s and B’s will appear commonly in our report card at the end of the semester.

If at any point you are feeling overwhelmingly stressed, take a break. You deserve time away from schoolwork and to have fun, but know that the reason you are at college in the first place is to do schoolwork, not house parties and keg stands. You are not alone either. Pretty much everyone is stressed out at this time of the year, but just get things done and you will feel so much better. Remember the expression that you need to work hard to play hard!

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