How to Ace Finals: The Best Study Habits and Routines

By Gabrielle Rente
Elm Staff Writer

Many students find that their current studying routines are ineffective. The first step to creating a routine that works for you is to establish healthful study habits.
Everyone learns in different ways. Knowing your learning style is extremely helpful when it comes to developing an effective studying routine. Are you a visual or auditory learner? Logical learners prefer to use systems and logic when it comes to studying, but kinesthetic learners retain information best through a physical style of learning, like work involving a sense of touch or working with the hands. Vocal stimulation works best for verbal leaners, but solitary leaners study best alone.
Knowing your style of learning will help you determine which study tools to use, where and when to study, and how to eliminate distractions.

Study buddies
Freshmen Mary Sprague and April Wang review by quizzing each other.

Establishing a study area is important. Do you like peace and quiet? Or do you require some background noise? Make sure the area you are using has good lightening. Using bright lights not only saves your eyesight but also prevent fatigue. Have multiple places to study in case your first choice is unavailable. A change in environment also helps improve concentration.
Creating realistic study goals with a deadline will motivate you to achieve more. This is essential in making a functional study routine. If your goals seem unattainable, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Ask yourself these questions. When do you study and for how long? Is it effective for you? Are you happy with your current grades? Which subjects require more attention? What about your personal priorities?
After assessing yourself, you will be able to see which areas require more of your attention. Finding yourself short on studying time? Maybe you need to cut some social activities for studying time. When creating your goals, use the SMART method; set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals.
If cramming is not working for you, and honestly who does it work for, then make time each day to study. Make a consistent habit out of studying, and you’ll find it much easier to keep up with essays and exams. This is where the handy planner comes into play. Choose which parts of the day you work best. Are you more productive in the mornings or the evenings?
Now that you have your time blocked out, know how to put that time to full use. Studying in 25 minute periods with 10 minute breaks in between has shown to be more effective than sitting for several hours with no mental breaks. Break up your time by tasks. Spend an hour listening to lectures and then move on to reviewing notes or knocking out that essay outline.
Here are some additional tips to maximize your studying routine:
*When reading a story for a class, try listening to the audiobook. YouTube is a great tool because it has many Librivox recordings, and has a viewing option where you can speed up the video in different times. By doing so, you have created a reading pacer for yourself. This is also effective for both visual and auditory learners.
* Avoid eating a heavy meal before studying, as this can make you sleepy and more prone to nap rather than knock out that assignment.
* Make sure when you are studying to eliminate as many distractions as possible. That means either putting your phone on do not disturb mode or shutting it off completely. When using a laptop, turn on your ad blocker while doing research or try staying off the internet all together.

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