By Esther Fultz
Final exams can be intimidating, whether you’re a freshman experiencing them for the first time or an upperclassman trying to apply the study habits learned over several years at Cedarville to increasingly tricky classes. Having proper study habits is crucial for success. While good study habits may not be developed overnight, implementing small changes in your studying regimen can make a huge difference to your semesters going forward.
Break it up
Breaking down information into manageable chunks is one of the most helpful study habits. Anna Wagner is a sophomore nursing student and has found this helpful in studying for her anatomy final.
“For my anatomy final, I have to study 34 lectures,” Wagner said. “Last Tuesday, I counted the number of days until the exam and there were 12, so I’m studying three lectures each day. That gives me an accomplishable task to complete every time I go to study.”
Ease yourself into it
For students who struggle to focus when studying, slowly easing yourself into studying for finals can be very helpful.
“For me, it takes a while to get in the rhythm of studying,” said Emma Gibson, a sophomore Sports Medicine major. “So what I’ll do is study for five minutes when I first start, then take a break, then study for ten, then a break, then study for twenty minutes, and so on. By then I’ve gotten into my study rhythm, and then I get in the zone and can study for a long time.”
Take time to process the information
Processing information verbally and through writing is also a helpful tactic in retaining what you have learned. Gibson said that as a freshman she primarily memorized information and spent little time processing it to retain this information. Not only does failing to process information negatively affect exam grades, but it also makes it more difficult for a student to retain information long-term throughout the rest of their college classes and into their professional career.
“Some people like being able to translate things they have learned in their heads to things they can do with their hands,” added Wagner. “For example, I write out definitions, I underline them, and I color them. And I like to draw circles that branch out into other bubbles and see how things connect to one another rather than just carbon copying everything I’ve learned.”
Finally, both Gibson and Wagner agreed that sleep is an important factor in academic success. When studying for final exams, students may struggle to regularly get the recommended amount of sleep, which is seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Even though sleep may seem like a waste of time, it could be what makes or breaks a student’s final exam grade.
Sleep deprivation damages both your memory retention and immunity, and according to Wagner, the brain functioning of a person on less than five hours of sleep is equivalent to the brain functioning of someone under the influence of alcohol. If you wouldn’t drive drunk, you certainly shouldn’t expect your grade to be amazing when taking your exam sleep-deprived.
Esther Fultz is a junior Social Work major and an Off-Campus and On-Campus writer for Cedars. She enjoys writing songs, spending time outdoors, drinking coffee, and hanging out with friends.