How I Survived Finals

Shineon

Before I tell you the whole procedure, I’d like to note that this quarter was one of the most important quarters in my college career (so far). The thing is, there is a certain GPA requirement to get admitted to the Psychology Major. It’s not very high, but various past circumstances have forced me to retake a class to raise the GPA. That wasn’t fun, obviously, but I will talk about that later sometime. The point is, raising the GPA takes a lot of effort, and this quarter was extremely stressful because of that, since my admission to the major depended on it.

I must say now that I did pretty well – scores above average, and good enough to raise the grades suitable for the admission. Three finals in a row wasn’t super fun, though, and it took me a lot of effort to get organized. Here’s what I did:

1. Create a study schedule and follow it.
I know this one is a little obvious, like you would have totally thought of that without me saying it for the millionth time. I’ve written a few posts about this, you can check them out here: How to Make a Study Plan Make a Study Guide.

2. Use every free minute.
I think my scores definitely had some room for improvement, and I definitely had enough time to study for it. My laziness and procrastion got in the way, unfortunately, and I now regret every minute I spent watching Gilmore Girls instead of studying.

3. Prepare your snacks!
I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like the more studying I have, the more hungry I get. Is it because I’m secretly bored or maybe my stomach is trying to distract me? I don’t know, but having some snacks and a cup of hot tea nearby creates a more comfortable and cozy setting for me.

4. Sleep.
Probably the most important thing you can do to get all your energy (large dozes of caffeine excluded). Most teenagers and adults need at least 8 hours of sleep every night, and not getting all of them takes a toll on your test performance. Here are some more posts about that: The True Value of SleepThe Power of Naps, No More All-Nighters

5. Actually study.
Here it is, the mistake that brought me to failure to many times. Just kidding, I’ve never failed any subject really, but I’ve definitely received scores below the ones I’ve expected. As easy as it sounds, studying doesn’t mean simply rereading the textbook or your notes. This quarter I tried to do all the practice problems assigned and quiz myself as much as possible. This technique is called active recall, which works when you retrieve the information from your memory so many times that it actually stays there. Read about it here: About Memorization. There are several Memory Techniques you can use to make the best of your study time as well.

How do you get through your finals week? Comment below!

Memory Techniques

Memory

If you have a hard time memorizing large amounts of material for school or work, there are several techniques that could help.

1. Give it some meaning:
Information is best processed when you apply some kind of meaning to it. For example, to remember random words “baby, chicken, music, tennis shoes”, you can imagine a baby in tennis shoes dancing the chicken dance.

2. Mnemonic Devices:
Rhyming, acronyms, songs, associations, anything that helps you remember the order of the words. A wonderful example of this is a poem to remember the number of days in each month:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
All the rest have thirty-one
Excepting February alone:
Which hath but twenty-eight, we find,
Till leap year gives it twenty-nine.

Check out these Mnemonics Generator sites: 1, 2, 3.Movie Get Out (2017)Movie A Dog’s Purpose (2017)

3. Flashcards
Memorization with flashcards cannot by any means compare to any of the methods above or below. Mindless memorization can get you through only for a short period of time: if you do not understand the material, you will not remember it in the long run. However, if the time is pressing and you must remember tons of keyterms and formulas, this would be a good way to go!

3. Categorization

Organize the new information into categories, map the concepts in your mind and link them to understand which concept leads to another. You can use charts, diagrams, or even the outlining note taking methods to connect all the dots in your mind.

4. Chunking

For long lists of numbers, group them into 4’s or 5’s.  chunking

5. Imagery

Come up with an image that goes along with the material. I’ve watched a great Ted Talk a few weeks ago, and oddly enough I still remember some of the things the speaker said because he associated them with weird images. Watch the video:

6. Method of Loci
This is a very interesting way to remember information and one of the oldest mnemonic devices. “This method was developed by the poet Simonides of Ceos, who was the only survivor of a building collapse during a dinner he attended. Simonides was able to identify the dead, who were crushed beyond recognition, by remembering where the guests had been sitting. From this experience, he realized that it would be possible to remember anything by associating it with a mental image of a location.” You can read more about it here: Health.HowStuffWorks

How do you guys memorize your class information?

“How to Win at College” by Cal Newport

Hello everyone!

I’ve been reading a very interesting book by Cal Newport (he has a website called Study Hacks, haha, but we’re not the same people): How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students.

image

Honestly, this book has been the most helpful guide to studying that I’ve ever read.

Read More

Are you ready for the next school year?

With only a few weeks left before Fall quarter starts, it may be a good idea to start looking ahead.

  • If you already have your schedule, go down the list and look up the classes you’ll be taking. It’s good to know a little background info before you show up on the 1st day.
  • Professor ratings (my favorite!): look up your professors‘ names on RateMyProfessors.com. It has reviews from students who have already taken classes with that instructor.
  • Know what to expect: look through the textbook material, maybe some introduction videos, etc.
  • Buy office supplies. This might as well be on the top of this list.

Add your suggestions in the comments!

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Textbook Read Tips

I got some questions recently on reading a book/textbook and taking notes. Here is the part about textbook reading, I’ll come up with novel-type book reading soon!

The three main things you can do while reading a textbook are:

1) Stop highlighting and start writing things down- on margins or in a notebook. Because you’re thinking while writing, it will help you remember the information more.
2)Take concise notes, don’t include details. Key concepts and short descriptions only, no ramblings.
3) Look at the big picture. Summarize the chapters you’ve read, organize all information on paper. In the end you will know the key ideas and will just need to sort out the smaller details.

Happy reading!

Multiple Choice Exams

Quick Tips for Answering Multiple Choice Questions

1. Read question and underline what it’s asking you.
2. Cover the answer choices (a, b, c, d) with your hand and try to answer the question yourself, without any help. Seeing the answer choices will just confuse and distract you.
3. Use the Process of Elimination: 
– Eliminate what is obviously a wrong answer
– Now only focus on what’s left. Now you won’t pay attention to the wrong answer choice and it won’t distract you anymore.

Note* Strongly-worded answer choices are rarely the right answer! See example on the picture :)

My econ professor told us a few of these- you still have to study, but these techniques makes it easier for you to find the right answer among all the wrong ones that distract you.

** If you have any more tips you’d like to share with us, Submit them to me and I will post them and credit you, of course, or comment below!