Lesser-known study techniques that will curb your tears for finals


With finals week coming up there are many ways of approaching the retention of information, Quizlet and the Pomodoro Technique to name a few. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Common)

Finals week is approaching and stress levels are at their peaks. Nobody wants to be underprepared for his or her upcoming exam, but the thought of sifting through endless paragraphs of information doesn’t exactly elicit joy; however, there are a few ways to prepare for finals while finding a balance with time for relaxation. Here are some study methods you may not have known about that’ll help you before you start to hit the books.

Although its name is unusual, the Pomodoro Technique is extremely beneficial in finding the perfect balance between review and relaxation. Basically, this method uses a timer to divide study time into intervals usually 25 minutes in length separated by short breaks. First, decide what activity you will perform for a short duration of time. It could involve highlighting important snippets of information or practicing sample problems. Second, set a timer for 25 minutes and work on the task until the timer stops. Then, take a five-minute break before repeating to work on a task for 25 minutes four more times. Afterwards, take a 15 to 30-minute break. This technique provides break time so that the brain is not overwhelmed all at once.

“The Pomodoro method is definitely helpful and pretty easy to follow,” first-semester biophysics major and Pomodoro Technique user Corey Mallozzi, said. “You know there is a break coming up so it keeps you focused.”

For those classes heavily based on memorization and the textbook, there are many Quizlet flashcard sets online with sections of a textbook chapter paraphrased into brief sentences. These flashcards provide short explanations to broad, difficult concepts, and can help set a foundation for comprehension on the material. Search for the class textbook on Quizlet and look around for flashcard sets that appear the most helpful to you.

Another tip to help with memorization is to spend small slots of time repeating the same material. Even if the action is for 10 seconds, the constant repetition will make it easier to recall pieces of information. Also, spend a few minutes right before bed reading the material. Since you are exposed to information immediately prior to sleeping, the brain will better process it and will provide you with better recall.

Since people spend hours on end reviewing their textbooks, it is very easy to get distracted by the smallest things. Before stuffing your face with a textbook for the next few hours, stare at a wall or focus on a surface for a few minutes and try to rid your thoughts of everything. Having nothing on your mind could relieve stress and increase attention span, especially before a long period of studying.

These methods are not guaranteed to work, as each person is different and possesses different capabilities, but many study techniques are rooted in one concept—repetition. You can try your own methods in preparation for finals, but remember to repeat the material and you will likely be fine for your exams.

Kevin Li is a campus correspondent for the Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.li@uconn.edu.

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