Studying For Finals: The tips and tricks to doing well

Find a nice, quiet place to study that’s free of distractions and work there. Most dorms and class buildings have designated study areas and the library has a variety of floors and study rooms so you can find an environment that’s right for you. (Jason/Jiang/The Daily Campus)

With finals coming up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There is so much information to learn and so little time to remember it, which is only worsened by procrastination. Studying can feel daunting and pointless, especially if all you’re doing is reading from a textbook or looking over your notes. But there are a lot of active and more effective ways to study that you may not even know about. So here’s a list of study tips designed to help you this finals week:

Space out your studying: As hard as it is and as obvious as it sounds, start studying early. The earlier you start to study, the more days you’ll have to learn the information and the better you’ll be able to remember it. You’ll also avoid the stress of trying to relearn a semester’s worth of content in one night, which, let’s be real, is a nightmare no one needs.

Get rid of distractions: Turn off your phone. Don’t listen to music that you’ll just end up singing along with. Study alone if your study groups with friends always seem to end in procrastination and off-topic conversations. Find a nice, quiet place to study that’s free of distractions and work there. Most dorms and class buildings have designated study areas and the library has a variety of floors and study rooms so you can find an environment that’s right for you.

List out everything you know: When studying, it’s obviously important to focus on the information you don’t know, but the problem is, you often don’t know what you don’t know until it’s too late. To figure out what you should study, take out some blank paper and isolate yourself from your notes. Then, write down everything you can remember from the chapter(s) you’re studying. Afterward, compare it to your notes and make a list of everything you either got wrong or forgot entirely, and then study that.

Figure out your learning style: There are three main types of learning styles: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. There are tests online to figure out which you are or, you may know your study habits well enough to know yours. Look up study strategies based on your preferred learning style. Auditory learners benefit from reading things out loud or hearing them, so things like recording your lectures or watching YouTube videos about the subject can help. Visual learners benefit from seeing things, so color-coding your notes or using diagrams and visual cues can be helpful. Kinesthetic learners learn by doing, so using physical flashcards is helpful, as is doing something with your hands like tapping your fingers.

The Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique is a studying method that puts you on a timed schedule. You study for 25 minutes and then take a five minute break, and then you repeat. The technique can be edited to whatever timing works for you.

Quizlet: Quizlet is the godsend among websites when it comes to studying. You can either make the flashcards yourself or even search to see if someone already made them for your class. The website makes you practice tests and has various ways to study, so it’s great for learning vocabulary or key concepts.

Website Blockers: There are tons of extensions to add to Chrome and Firefox that will block websites for you. You can enter a time period (say, one hour) and all the websites you’re likely to procrastinate on (Netflix, Youtube and the like) and the extension won’t let you access the websites until the timer runs out, forcing you to give in and study. I use one called “StayFocusd,” but there are hundreds available online.

Teach Someone Else: Have someone ask you questions about the information you’re studying or just straight-up give them a mini lesson on the information. Teaching someone else makes you recall the information from memory and requires you to have a good understanding of the content. It can even be helpful for the person you’re teaching if they’re studying for the same exam.

Crash Course and Khan Academy: Educational YouTube channels are great to get a basic understanding of a topic or to be walked through the steps in solving a math problem. They’re useful to watch before and after reading the corresponding chapter in your textbook or to watch during study breaks.

Best of luck this finals week! Get some sleep, eat a good breakfast, get out there and ace your exams.


Courtney Gavitt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.