A Mag’s Do’s and Don’ts: Finals Week

Payton Moore

When finals roll around, we find ourselves enjoying cleaning, talking to the annoying roommate about her meaningless Thanksgiving break (you ate turkey? Wow!) and organizing drawers of random “whatchamacallits.”

As much as we’d like to say, “Heh! Who needs school! I could just drop out and sell Beanie Babies on eBay for millions,” that’s not happening (yet). You’re in it either for the next week, or the next 3.5 years. Welcome to finals.

We’ve rounded up some of the best studying do’s and don’ts for those of us who plan on graduating.

DO: Install temporary blocks to social media. SelfControl or StayFocusd are apps that you can download to your phone and computer browser that eliminate the distractions of those tasty Buzzfeed videos we find ourselves watching for hours.

DON’T: Highlight. Research shows highlighting your material doesn’t significantly improve your ability to remember. Instead, write everything down. No note cards? No problem. Just putting pen to paper involves your brain in a more physical activity that’s similar to working out – you’re not going to see great results in the gym if all you do is take the stairs. More vigorous studying means a better memory, which means making the Dean’s List, which means scholarships!

DO: Make up stories. If your tests involve memorizing complicated formulas, differentiating between two similar items or breaking down the problem into singular letters, do like we did in elementary and get Acrostin’. Acrostic poems work as great tools to create a story with each letter of the word.

DON’T: Psych out over everything you have to do. Sure, you’ve got that final in Microeconomics, your portfolio review for graphic design, and your designs for Fashion Visuals and thinking about all of that will definitely send your head into an anxious blob. You’re going to have to schedule and plan out what’s most urgent with least, and then break down your studying chunks even further. We recommend doing this on paper, as it’s easy to see and can quietly loom over your head while you sleep.

DO: Work in a clean environment. Yes! More time to distract yourself from studying! But seriously, clean your room, your vanity, do your laundry and study in a room with a relaxing ambience and no distractions.

DON’T: Listen to music with lyrics. And if you can avoid it, turn off Spotify and SoundCloud for good while studying. Researchers at Stanford conducted a study where students often were confused over material they knew because they were trying to decipher the lyrics in their heads. A quiet, distraction-free space is key to snagging As.