Study tips for the final stretch
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the end of the semester by the amount of work still left to do before summer. Here are some pro tips on how to hit the books hard without them hitting you back.
- Stay organized. Make to-do lists for your classes with deadlines, meetings and long-term projects so you know what you have to do and when you have to do it. It’s also helpful to color-code by classes, or by academics and extracurriculars. Plus, there’s the added feeling of accomplishment when you get to cross something off the list.
- Study smart. If you don’t know where to begin, re-read and summarize your notes from lectures, textbooks and discussions. Many professors will post study guides, or have clearly articulated learning objectives in the syllabus or lesson plans. Focus on the concepts you feel the least comfortable with.
- Test Yourself. Making paper flashcards is an oldie but goodie: Campus Explorer explains how science has shown that handwriting the terms forces you to process the information in multiple areas of your brain. Plus, you can repeat the tough concepts and terms you don’t know after breezing through the easy ones.
- Stay focused. We get it, you’re popular. But all those GroupMe’s, Snapchats, text messages, Instagram likes and Facebook notifications severely reduce your productivity when studying. Try turning your phone on airplane mode or hiding it from sight while you power through. If you feel like you will be tempted to sneak a peek at Facebook while writing a paper on your laptop, you can download apps like the Google Chrome extension SimpleBlocker, which blocks any website (see: YouTube, Netflix, BuzzFeed) until you are done working.
- Form Study Groups. There’s no bell curve at Elon, so you’re all in this together! Not only is studying with friends more fun, but it helps everyone’s learning if you explain concepts to each other and are able to talk through big ideas.
- Take advantage of Elon’s resources. You’re here in college to learn and everyone here wants you to succeed. Take that paper worth 40% of your final grade to the writing center to get it checked before turning it in. Hit up the tutoring center for help in any lower-level class from students who are majoring in it. Ask your personal librarian if she knows any good sources for your end-of-the-year research paper. Last but not least, talk to your professors. Email them, go to their office hours and ask for extra help when you need it. They are here to help you flourish!
- Take a break. Yes, there IS such a thing as too much studying. Every hour, go for a quick walk, eat a snack, or do something to rejuvenate your brain. If you force yourself to focus for too long, everything will just turn to mush.
This spring, classes end on Tuesday, May 10 and final exams will be given from May 12-17. You can find a detailed list of final exam schedules here. Best of luck, Elon!
Selina Guevara is a member of Elon University's class of 2019, and a Public Health and Spanish double major. While at Elon she's been involved in reporting and producing for ELN, is the current Tier I Program Director at the Center for Leadership, and the treasurer of the I Am That Girl organization. She loves kayaking, hiking, and arroz con leche, and hopes to join the Peace Corps in Latin America after college.