Finals week was the most stressful time for me when I was in college. The week before finals consisted of large cups of coffee, sleep deprivation, and long hours of studying. My school’s library was like the watering hole for my classmates. Everyone was diligently going over their notes, creating flashcards, and forming study groups to assure maximum efforts of retaining knowledge. Learning how to study will help you earn better grades on your exams – now – and well into the future. Listed below are tips that will help even my fellow procrastinators.

Take Good Notes

Learning how to take good notes comes with practice and finding what works best for you. The key factor is recording key points from your professor without overwriting every little detail. There are various ways to take notes:

  • Write them out in a notebook
  • Write on slides your professor makes available on Blackboard or Canvas
  • Type notes on a laptop or tablet
  • Record the lecture and listen to it later to fill in your notes
  • Join a study group and learn from each other

Find Your Environment 

Your studying environment is everything, but the perfect location varies for each student. I enjoyed going to the library and renting a private study room. Others like coffee shops (my favorite is Scooter’s), because who doesn’t like the convenience of grabbing a coffee or a snack when you need a mental break. For some, it’s a quiet place in their dorm room. The proper studying environment can put you in the right mind frame to tackle any final exam that comes your way.

Disconnect from Social Media

It can be hard to stay off of social media, especially since most of you use technology for nearly all your schoolwork. Still, web browsing or watching television can become a distraction and limits the time spent on actually studying. Your social media accounts and TV shows will still be there after you study — unless Rhianna finally drops her new album (a girl can dream). Also, limit your phone use as it may hinder you from forming good study habits and might make it difficult to retain information. I know easier said than done, but SnapChat isn’t going to help you pass your biology exam.  

Cram Sessions 

This was my favorite pastime in college. I would cram for hours on end with my teammates and stay up super late before my finals. But it limited how much information I could retain, and after my finals, I would feel like a zombie. It’s tempting to say, “I’ll study tomorrow,” and then tomorrow becomes the night before an exam. Pace yourself! If you study a little bit each day leading up to the exam, it will help you with fatigue and you will remember more of what you’ve learned. Trust me, young grasshopper.  

Take a Break 

It’s okay to take small breaks while you’re studying. Ten-minute breaks every hour or so can help your mind stay at ease. Otherwise, too much studying can cause you to stress or even forget the material you’re reviewing. It’ll help you stay energized and at peak mental condition. Given how easy you can become overwhelmed in college, this is probably the most important study tip!