What's the best way to prepare for finals? Hint: Get outside!

I remember all through high school before I had a big test my mom would make blueberry muffins (because blueberries are a superfood), we would eat a banana (brain food?), and then she would send us out the door with a stick of peppermint gum (stimulates brain activity?) 

When I got to college it became very clear those tricks weren’t quite gonna cut it (although I still chew a piece of peppermint gum through every test, cause moms rock and tradition you know?) But aside from that, I learned some new tricks that helped me be successful. Here’s what my 4 years of finals have taught me. 

Tip #1: Get Outside

This worked for me for a lot of different reasons. First, it is an awesome change of pace. It is not healthy, or possible, to stay focused sitting in a library stall for hours on end. I loved getting outside because it immediately relaxed me. I would bring my flashcards, lunch, and my hammock and enjoy some people watching while studying. 

Tip #2: Exercise!

I loved this because it was a physical release from the stress and anxiety that builds up during finals week. Jog, swim, lift, hit, whatever is your favorite stress reliever. If you can’t take a break from the books, then hit the bikes and bring along your study material. Any place is a good place for studying. 

Tip #3: Start Early/Repetition

In high school I was the world’s best “crammer.” I could study for a test all night, wake up with 3 hours sleep, and ace it. After a few failed tests in College I knew my study habits had to change.

So, a week before a test I would write everything down on notecards. Multiple choice questions, vocab, question and answer, really everything. I would cart them around everywhere and any free time between classes I would whip them out and study. This got me super familiar with the material.

Then a few days before the exam I would make myself a few different practice tests. Using my notes I would turn everything we learned into a question. I spent hours thinking of questions, creating the tests, and writing the answers. By the time the test rolled around I was familiar with the material and had thought critically about it which meant I really understood it. Don’t be a “crammer!” 

Tip #4: Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

It can be really hard to resist the urge to spend all night studying. Especially if you don’t know the material super well. However, I learned that I do SO MUCH better if I had a good night sleep the night before. It is not worth whatever material you MIGHT remember from pulling the all-nighter. 

Tip #5: Study out loud

Now I don’t mean talk to yourself. That would be weird. But go to study groups where you discuss the material with other people. Or, ask your roomates to ask you test questions out loud. Or reserve a library room with a friend and just recite important information. My brain remembered so much more if I had spent time reviewing the information verbally. 

Tip #6: The night before the test is for you

This is not always possible, especially during finals week, but I loved to relax the night before the test. Go eat at my favorite place, hang out with friends, do a face mask, hang in my hammock, whatever most relaxes you. Obviously you can spend time reviewing material but by the night before I really liked to be done “learning” and take a second to re-group and relax. 

So there are 6 of my best tips to ace those finals. If you are in need of a hammock to hang in for all that outdoor studying check them out here! Also, use code hhblogfollower for $7 off your order. Good luck & happy hanging!