A Millennial’s Guide to Surviving Final Exams

You hear that? It’s the sound of being productive, interacting with actual humans, and eating healthy all flying out the window. Why? Because it’s that time of year again: FINALS.

But don’t worry, because not only is Ryan Gosling here to cheer you on, but I’ve got some tips to help you get through the worst two weeks of your life (this year).

  1. Clean your room. If you do this before you start studying, you’ll be less inclined to procrastinate by cleaning later.
  2. Listen to the Harry Potter soundtracks. Open up Spotify and stream the Harry Potter soundtracks for free (Goblet of Fire, Half-Blood Prince, and both Deathly Hallows’ soundtracks are the best, in my opinion) while you work. The music is enough to drown out any other background noises without being too distracting in itself, but epic enough that you’ll think studying or writing a paper is just as important as defeating Voldemort. It will create a sense of urgency, and you’ll actually like working.
  3. Handwrite notes. If you’re having trouble remembering something, like an important fact (or if you’re in law school like me, maybe you’re having trouble remembering a particular rule of law), write it out on a sheet of paper. Do this even if you already have it typed out on your computer. Taking pen to paper helps etch it into your brain a little better.
  4. Don’t study in the same place all the time. A change of scenery can be a good thing. Leave your house to go study at the library, or maybe leave the library to study at a coffee shop. Studies show that changing your studying environment can increase the likelihood that you’ll remember the material you’re trying to learn.
  5. Outline the important stuff. Write up all the fundamental information you need to know. In other words, consolidate your notes into something more manageable. You’ll be reviewing it as you go along, and you’ll end up with a nice little study guide by the time you’re finished.
  6. Turn off your wi-fi (and maybe even your cell phone). If you don’t need the internet to get your studying done, just flip the wi-fi switch off for a little while. You’ll be less tempted to check Facebook and Buzzfeed if you don’t have internet. If you can’t stop texting, it might be a good idea to turn off your phone, too.
  7. Don’t pull an all-nighter. I’ve gone through seven years of higher education without pulling one – and I’m doing just fine. All-nighters will just make everything worse, especially if your exam is the next day. It’s also a dumb idea to try to write a long paper overnight without taking a break to sleep.
  8. Prep with other people. This doesn’t mean you have to put together a study group or spend hours together crammed in a study room at the library. But if you have a question, text or call a friend who is in the class. I’ve learned more from some of my classmates about a particular topic than I ever did from the professor who taught the course.
  9. Take breaks. Split up your study time into chunks, and leave a few long breaks in between. Getting your mind off mentally-taxing topics will help you focus better in the long run. And if most of your study time requires you to look at your computer screen, don’t spend your break surfing the web or watching YouTube videos. At least watch TV or go outside or something.
  10. Never forget that Ryan Gosling believes in you.
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9 thoughts on “A Millennial’s Guide to Surviving Final Exams

  1. Pingback: A Millennial’s Guide to Surviving Final Exams | "Something" In Law School

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