Study Skills

Holiday Hacks for Powering Through Finals

November 29, 2019

The season of celebration is upon us — but so are final exams. Are you prepared for the insanity with a holiday study plan?

Every university student can use some finals study tips, but you might need some extra motivation during this busy time of year. Have no fear! Once you know how to study during the holidays — or any time — you can enjoy the festivities while making the grade. 

1. Write a Schedule 

If you don’t want to end up cramming the night before exams, you need a plan. Find a planner tool that works best for you, whether you keep your schedule via an app or pen and paper. Then, sit down with your books and create a study schedule. 

While creating your holiday study plan, include time for healthy meals and exercise. It’s easy to let good nutrition slide when tasty treats surround you, but snacking on sugary cookies won’t help your focus or your nutrition.

2. Tackle Your Toughest Topics First 

Maybe you breeze through your composition courses, but you struggle in math. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, but to earn the best grades, study your toughest topics first. If you need additional time to review specific concepts, it’s better to give yourself as much time as possible. Plus, chances are, you may not enjoy challenging subjects as much, so you give yourself a built-in incentive to finish and move on to a more enjoyable task. 

3. Eliminate Distractions 

Do the alerts on your cellphone drive you crazy if you don’t check them right away? Make your study time more productive by powering off your phone or slipping it into Do Not Disturb mode. Put it in a desk drawer that you lock if need be — out of sight, out of mind.

Likewise, outside noises can distract you, especially if you live in a crowded dorm. Turn off the TV and close your door. If your roommate has friends over or is caught up in an “Orange Is the New Black” marathon, reach for your headphones. Opt for classical or spa music to help you relax and focus on the material at hand. 

4. Set a Timer 

One of the reasons cramming doesn’t work effectively is because it’s impossible to concentrate for hours on end without stopping. That’s why taking scheduled and purposeful breaks rank among the top finals study tips. 

Set a timer to go off every hour. During this time, get up and stretch or take a short walk. Talk to your roommate or another friend. Have a healthy snack like a piece of string cheese or an apple. 

5. Get Friends Involved

Do you belong to a study group? If you don’t, consider forming one or joining an established group. You can meet new friends and discover fresh ways of looking at challenging material. If you prefer to avoid a large gathering, find one trusted friend to hit the books with. You can set dates to meet at the library to hold each other accountable, and text each other friendly reminders to stay on track. 

6. Mix up the Scenery 

When it comes to how to study during the holidays, sometimes it’s best to give in to the cheer. If you can’t take another minute of staring at the concrete walls of your dorm, bundle up and head to the library. The cheery decor may inspire you to work harder, so you can brag about your grades when you head home for break. You might feel unusually homesick this time of year, too. Getting out and around other people can help alleviate feelings of loneliness. 

7. Reward Yourself 

Once you survive finals with the help of these holiday study tips, it’s time to reap the rewards of your labor. If you have the budget, plan a mini-vacation with friends before heading home to see the folks. Alternately, binge-watch your favorite show that you gave up while hitting the books or catch up on your sleep. Spread the holiday love by thanking your professors for a great semester, too, before departing for more peaceful shores.

Power Through Your Finals With These Holiday Study Tips 

You don’t have to decide between celebrating and doing well on your final exams. Once you master how to study during the holidays, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Season’s greetings — and happy studying!

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