Beat the finals-week blues

Matt Pence, 21, art history and graphic design, poses as the stressed out student during finals week.

Matt Pence, 21, art history and graphic design, poses as the stressed out student during finals week.

Valery Fregoso

Finals are a stressful week for everyone, instructors included.  With the contribution of Irvine Valley Colleges’ Honors Director, Kay Ryals, a list of ten helpful tips  was made to keeping your GPA high and finishing the academic year strong.

1. Get SLEEP!

Students always feel that staying up all night studying is necessary when it actually hurts more then helps. According to a study by Dr. Robert Oexman and the Huffington Post, “To maximize your time learning you must sleep before an exam. This will also benefit your test score more then four or five hours of staying awake staring at your notes you will not remember.

2. Study in a place that helps you to concentrate.

Starbucks is commonly a go-to place when it comes to studying

“Sit in a chair… at a desk. Not your bed,” Jasmine Schwab-Doyle, honors student, suggests.

It helps to go to one place where you know you can concentrate the best. This can be the library, kitchen table, or even the park.

3. Turn off your phone and social media when you’re studying.  For real.

As much as you want to know what your friends during their free time through their Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, its best to put away your phone while studying. Social media will only keep you more distracted.

4. Find a study group.

“Consider splitting your time between individual study and group study,” Ryals said. “Usually, it’s best to review on your own first, then get together with friends to quiz each other and to discuss the most challenging topics.”

This is especially important for those classes that could be challenging so you do not feel so alone trying to figure out the material on your own. It can also help you retain the material if you are explaining it to another student. Lastly, avoid getting together with a group that you know you will get distracted with, that is just as bad as going on social media while studying.

5. Plan your schedule ahead of time!

Many students not only go to school, but they work as well and if you could not get most of work off, then finding time to study could be hard. The best way to get around this obstacle is to plan a schedule and stick to this schedule. This will avoid the unwanted panic nights when beginning to study for the test the night before.

6. Utilize your instructors’ office hours.

“Go to office hours and ask questions about materials you don’t understand,” Doyle said. “Professors are more interested than you may think in seeing you succeed!”

If your instructor does not have office hours, send them an email or go before class to ask them when they have time available. If that does not work, Saddleback and IVC both have tutoring centers where you can either walk in or schedule and appointment for help in your subject area. Avoid doing this last minute. If you know you are having trouble in a class, find help now.

7. Avoid using your “days off” to party.

As much as a glass of red wine or a beer may seem needed, avoid drinking, avoid going to bars, just don’t do it.  If you party, you will need time to recover. That time can be your time to study.

8. Find an alternative to caffeine!

“Consider waking yourself up with exercise, a short walk or run, instead of or in addition to coffee,” Ryals said.

Coffee and energy drinks can make you more tired or even more sick the next day. Keep yourself hydrated with a glass of water instead.

9. Be on time to your finals.

If this means to get your scantron now instead of the day of, then do it. The last thing you want to avoid is getting stressed finding parking and finding out the bookstore happened to run out of a certain scantron you need. This also can give you a chance to ask your fellow classmates questions you might have or time to review.

10. And lastly, reward yourself.

“Give yourself time to NOT study. Take break,” Aaron Bola, honors student said.

If this is watching your favorite TV show, finally turning on your phone to call your best friend or significant other, or going out to get ice cream. Studying might be important but so is making sure you have a proper meal and having time for yourself. If you feel you need to nap. Take a nap. But make sure you turn on your alarm for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes you can get very tired and lazy to finish studying.

Follow these tips and I am sure you will have a successful finals week. Good luck!

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