Studying for finals: everything a CWRU student should know


Courtesy of LofiGirl

Studying for finals is a daunting task, but hopefully these study tips will help you break it down into manageable pieces.

Shivangi Nanda, Copy Editor

We are in the home-stretch, folks. With two weeks left in the spring semester, it’s time to frantically prepare for final projects, assignments and exams. Considering final exams are often a hefty part of our course grades, it’s no wonder that the bi-annual fog of stress and dread has settled upon our campus. But do not fret, my fellow students, because I come bearing a beacon of hope, with tips and tricks you’ll need to be ready and succeed. From getting a head-start on your studying schedule to seeking out help from peers, this guide will provide the ins and outs of good studying strategies and the lifestyle habits needed to support them. But don’t take these as the golden rule to studying, they are meant to act as more of a ‘roadmap’ to finding your route to success and a relatively stress-free finals season. 


Start early and create a game plan!

Tackling a mission requires planning, and studying for finals is no different; the key to a successful finals season is having a detailed plan of how, what and where to study. While this may seem daunting, creating a study schedule will help you keep track of your progress and prevent the need to cram right before an exam—something I think we are all familiar with. But, how you plan is completely up to you. While some like to tackle their weak spots first, others may want to have a comprehensive review of all of the semester’s content. Either way, pacing yourself and setting daily study goals can make learning information a much less stressful experience.


Get creative with your study techniques 

Reading the textbook and grinding out notes for every class are a good starting point, but exploring other studying techniques may help you better understand and engage with course material. Visual learners may consider using a whiteboard to draw out diagrams or use flashcards to learn facts and definitions. Kinesthetic learners may want to make simple models or try using games to learn the same content. Regardless of your preferred learning style, taking the time to find and employ unique study strategies can prevent burnout and improve retention. 


Find a good study spot 

Finding the right environment can do wonders for your study sessions. Alongside getting you in the zone to do work, a comfortable study spot can make it easier to focus by keeping you away from distractions you might find in your dorm or apartment. If you are unsure where this perfect spot is, take a look at my previous piece about the best study spots on Case Western Reserve University’s campus—you are sure to find one that fits.


Take breaks and get some sleep 

Your brain needs time to recharge, so make sure to take frequent breaks during long study-sessions and in-between exams. This can be something as simple as getting a snack—because food is fuel—or even putting away study materials for an hour or so to hang out with friends, take a walk or engage in a hobby. Between exams, be sure to get ample sleep. Fight the urge to study the whole night before an exam and have a little R & R; your mind and body will be better off for it.


Join/start a study group 

This one may not be a universal hack, but oftentimes joining a study group can help make studying a lot less monotonous. In addition to providing you with the motivation to study, working in groups allows you to ask questions, test knowledge and gather more information in a collaborative setting. CWRU also offers group tutoring sessions if you would like to pair the benefits of group study with the ability to get immediate help from a peer who has already taken the class. 


Reward yourself 

Studying is hard, so give yourself a pat on the back every once in a while. After completing notes on a chapter or finishing watching a lecture, consider taking a break to watch an episode from your favorite TV show or go out for ice cream—Mitchell’s Ice Cream is always in your corner. These small yet helpful rewards are the perfect way to motivate yourself to continue to make progress towards your studying goals.


That’s a wrap on this one. I hope these tips will come in handy as you prepare for finals starting next week, and will help make the doom of exams a little less scary. This is the last hurrah before summer, so take every ounce of motivation you have to finish this semester strong. Take advantage of office hours, join a study group, take breaks every now and then and I’m certain this finals season will be a great one.


Good luck and happy studying!