Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Studying My Eyeballs Out

Yup it is finals week for me.
One week of intense studying (and perhaps some sleep deprived nights...) and then I get to go back home and enjoy spring break! Unfortunately for high schoolers and up finals week is inevitable... However I think there are a few ways to make it just a little less stressful than it already is :) Here are some tips and tricks that I have gained from past experience on how to survive finals week and also how to work more efficiently in general. Sadly, I can't guarantee that my advice will get you an A+ in your class (I really wish I could though!) but it might help you use your studying time more productively :)

1.) Invest in some type of planner/organizer and most importantly use it.
Whether it be a calender in your cellphone or a pocket planner, have something where you can visually see and write down important upcoming events.

I personally like planners that have a weekly set up as well as a monthly set up. That way I can make to do lists for that week as well as use the calender to see spatially when important events are coming up. It helps me keep track of what I need to do and how far in advance I should prepare for a certain event, for instance exams.



2.) Try listening to music while you study/work. 
I have a specific study playlist and it's filled with only instrumental pieces ( music with lyrics distracts me because then I start singing along!). Listening to this playlist every time I study has become a habit, so it helps me focus and gets me in the mood that it's time to get work done. 
If you're interested in what's on my playlist, try these: 
Aruarian Dance - Nujabes 
One Summer's Day - Joe Hisaishi 

3.) If you don't need a computer for your work, try to study in an area away from it. 
Unfortunately, I'm the type who gets really distracted when I have a computer screen with a web browser open. I could be looking at one of my professors lectures on his/her website and what do you know I'm some how on youtube or facebook! So unless you have really good self control (if you do I'm jealous!) try studying in the kitchen or in a study room at the library with out a computer. 

4.) Don't forget to take breaks, but make sure your breaks aren't longer than your studying periods! 
Try using your breaks productively by tidying up your room or outlining your schedule for tomorrow. I'm taking a break right now by writing this blog :) If you're really tired, take a power nap for 15-30 minutes. Studies show that power naps help increase alertness, productivity and memory. However don't go longer than that or you'll wake up feeling more tired than before!  

5.) When you take notes or create a study guide, try and use multiple colored pens/pencils. 
I usually write the bulk of my notes in black ink, and when there is something I need to remember like a vocabulary word or concept, I'll write it another color. I find that this really helps when reviewing old material, because I'm able to quickly acknowledge what is important.  It also really helps when you have to draw things out. 


6.) If you need to memorize something try making up an acronym or a story. 
By doing so it makes it a lot easier to memorize random terms that you don't use in everyday life. For instance in organic chemistry there is certain nomenclature used to represent the number of carbons in a chain. For carbon chains ranging from 1-4 carbons long, the prefixes methyl, ethyl, propyl, and butyl. To remember I use the sentence "Mom Eats Peanut Butter" to help me remember the order. I know it sounds silly, but hey do whatever works for you! :) 

7.) A week before finals stock up on easily prepared meals/snacks and try cooking in advance. This way you don't have to waste time cooking in the kitchen or driving to the grocery store or fast food restaurant. I usually have a frozen pizza and a couple of TV dinners in my freezer. I also like to make some type of pasta sauce, like spaghetti sauce with ground beef. Then all I have to do for dinner is boil some pasta, warm up my sauce, and I'm good to go :) For snacks, I always have a box of granola bars (Nature Valley Honey and Oats is my favorite!), cookies, and trail mix (I've currently been munching on Trader Joe's Simply Almonds, Caschews, and Chocolate Trek Mix).  

8.) Lastly, if you don't do as well as you want on your exam, at work, or whatever you've been allocating all your time to understand that you tried your best and there is always next time to improve :) 
Unfortunately, we all have bad days every now and then, but don't let that get you down from achieving success when the next opportunity arises!  

I hope that my advice is helpful! If you have any other tips and tricks, please leave them in a comment below! 


Superlove & Optimism, 

P.S. I accidentally deleted almost all of my comments! :( I thought that the comment section was an inbox, so I pressed "delete" thinking it would clear the messages I already read and answered. I am so sorry if you left one! They were all really specially to me :(

P.P.S. The mirrors on your closet work great as dry erase boards! 


  1. girl we are soooo alike! i cannot live without my planner and my colored pens!!

  2. I see some Diels Alder in those notes ;)

  3. @Annie: Hahah! Glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks planners and colored pens are a necessity :)

    @Connie: Someone has been studying their Ochem! I miss you girly!

  4. Thanks for the great tips! i am a student myself, and i know how hard it is to keep focusing when the laptop is in front of us. HAHA!

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG! and i really love u& ur housemate's style.. i think it's a great idea to have "Spiffy Days".. brilliant!

    keep up the great work.i'll definitely check your blog out everyday..or whenever i can.. super cute, informative and creative..love it love it love it!


  5. Yana, your lovely comments seriously made my day! Thank you for being so kind and supportive. I can't wait to make more blog posts now! :) ~Emily

  6. oh i loved the thing about Mom Eats Peanut Butter! i always fail to remember the prefixes! :)