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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How to Ace Your Finals!

 Finals: Tips and Tricks for Success 

    Is your caffeine addiction reaching an all time high? Have you spent more time in the library than in your own bed? Are you regretting putting off that 15 page paper until the day before it's due? The end of the semester is approaching and the only obstacles between you and summer vacation are a Scantron and a Number 2 pencil.

That's right, it's time for finals!
     As you know, the Center of Math aims to make educational resources accessible for students. Aligning with that mission, we have compiled some helpful tips to assist you in surviving– and thriving – during finals week.

Plan Ahead

Color coding is your friend!
      This may seem obvious, but planning out your weeks as finals approach can really help you maximize your time! You can use the calendar on your phone or a hand planner to keep track of due dates, extra curricular activities, or ideal study times. Knowing when you have that student council meeting or volley ball practice can help you to account for all of the hours leading up to a big exam. Making and sticking to a study schedule will also help you stay on task and divide your time amongst all of your activities. 

Take a Study Break

     You may think your helping yourself by sitting in the library for 9 hours at a time. However, studies show that exercise or fresh air can help you stay motivated and even help retain information! Studies have shown that exercise has memory-boosting qualities, and it has also been proven that exercise releases endorphins that can lift your mood. Taking a 15 minute jog or even a short walk can put you in a better mindset when you come back to your books! Other activities besides exercise have been linked to stress release. It may seem childish, but coloring books and arts-and-crafts have stress reducing qualities. Companies even make adult coloring books with more intricate design patterns. Even college students can enjoy opening a fresh box of pointy crayons!

Know Your Study Habits

     By the time you get to college, you have taken numerous tests and attended classes for nearly 12 years. As finals approach, it's a great time to take inventory of your own personal skills and learning style.  There are four types of learners: visual, auditory, read/write, and kinesthetic. If you are a visual learner, the best way to study is to read your notes, make charts or diagrams, or draw concepts. What about an auditory learner? If you learn best by listening, it helps to speak information aloud or study with a friend. Those who retain information by reading/writing can make flashcards that serve both purposes! Kinesthetic learners master material by moving, so creating games and activities can lead you to success. 
     Being aware of your own learning style isn't the only way that understanding your academic personality can help you with finals. If you know that one class has been more difficult for you, then carve out more time to prepare for that exam. On the other hand, if you enjoy writing papers and they are easier for you, you can plan accordingly. Bottom line, knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help better prepare you for the tough week that lies ahead.

Which type of learner are you?

Stay Healthy

    We already mentioned the benefits of exercise, but other healthy lifestyle choices may have a surprising impact on your educational habits. Of course, this is easier said than done and colds tend to strike at the most inopportune time. There are a few things you can do to stay in tip-top working condition. While pulling all nighters may seem necessary, sleep is actually incredibly beneficial. Do your best to get 8 hours, which can help your immune system stay in check. Eating healthy foods can also work in your favor. Putting good food in your body can help to keep your brain running properly and you will probably even be able to feel a difference. Some students swear by immune system boosters like Emergen-C or Alka-Seltzer Plus. Your finals are definitely important, but taking care of yourself is equally as crucial. You may be surprised how closely the two are related!

Beware of the Internet

Beware! Don't let this happen to you!
     The Center of Math is heavily involved in the Internet, and some educational sites can be super helpful during finals.  For more information, check out our YouTube channel with tutorial videos about various math concepts. However, other websites (I'm looking at you, Facebook), can steal your time and distract you from your books. If you have a digital textbook, such as one from the Center, you can usually download the book to a PDF. You don't need the Internet to access it, which can help for convenience but also for procrastination. Social media sites have a way of letting you scroll and scroll until hours pass like minutes. If this sounds like you, finals week may be a good time to go on a social media cleanse and deactivate your account. You can also re-visit when you ace your exams! You may consider a Netflix episode a good study break, but beware as one can turn into 5 very easily. A walk or game of cards may be a better way to get your mind off Calculus 3 for a few minutes!

Click here to visit our test prep playlist!

Allow for Accidents

     It's 11:55 and you finish your paper due at midnight but uh-oh– printer is broken! It's happened to everyone, and unfortunately some teachers may not take this excuse. "Well you shouldn't have waited until that late", is a very common response to an exhausted student's plea. However, this teacher may have a point. You should always leave a buffer time for technology issues, writer's block, or other unexpected obstacles. If none of these occur, the extra 30 minutes allows you to take a deep breath every once in a while. However, if they do, then you are prepared and can still complete the assignment on time.

Take Advantage of Resources

     You may think you can tackle finals on your own, but often schools have resources in place that are there to make your life easier. If your professor has office hours, it's useful to show your face and discuss material. Even if you think you grasped all of the information, it can be useful to talk about the information aloud and many professors are happy to help! On top of office hours, many professors hold review sessions that recap the class and help prepare for the exam. This can add to your studying efforts because the information is consolidated and condensed. It also helps to have a scheduled review time, because that makes studying unavoidable. Some schools or majors offer free tutoring, and tutors have plenty of tips that can have helped them succeed in the same class. The bottom line is make sure you become aware of the resources available for you, and use them to benefit you come finals week!

The Center of Math Resources

If you're struggling to recount everything you learned in your math class this semester, the Center of Math may be able to help. Our study resources range from the videos previously mentioned, to digital study guides that correlate with our textbooks. The study guides are all less than $8! We also sell blueprints, which are a quick overview of the subject at hand. These sell for less than $3! Not only are our resources high-quality and incredibly helpful, but they are also affordable. Click on the links below to find out more information about our study resources. 

AP Calculus Study Guide
Differential Calculus Study Guide
Integral Calculus Study Guide

Differential Calculus Blueprint

Pre-Calculus Blueprint 


Now, get back to those books! Remember these tips and study smart, not just hard.

Good luck! 

1 comment:

  1. Good post....thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needs. Thanks.

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