It’s that time of year—the lights, snow, Starbucks Christmas cups, and more! It’s almost the start of a new year, and we’re all excited about what 2022 may bring. Except, you have finals or midterms in all your classes…bummer. Most people get caught up in the fun of the season and forget to study, leading to cramming for their exams and subsequently not performing well. To avoid this, here are three simple and important steps to avoid failing an important test right before a well-deserved break.
1. Study early
The first step to acing pre–winter break tests is to—wait for it—study early! You’ve probably heard that before and ignored it, but it’s an absolute must. Every day, take a topic or manageable amount of information from each class and study the content for at least 15 minutes. This way, you’ll know early on if you forgot how to do something and have adequate time to ask your teacher to revisit a concept. If you have more than six classes, it might be easier to study for only three classes for 15 minutes each day and switch off to the other courses the next day so you don’t burn out on everything. If it helps, create a schedule and plan out how much time you’ll need every day and for which classes. That way, you can’t forget or say you didn’t have time because you already planned it out. Make a study schedule that works for you and stick to it.
2. Study the best way for you
The second step to acing your pre–winter break tests is finding a study method that works for you. Everyone studies differently—some people like to listen to the material, some people prefer diagrams, others like copying notes—just figure out whatever works for you! If you spend 15 minutes every day simply staring at the material and not actively studying it, you won’t do well, so it’s important to figure it out now if you haven’t already. Your study habits can even be different for each subject if it helps; for example, I study for math tests by redoing old problems and finding new ones to do that are similar to the old ones, whereas I study for my biotechnology class by rewriting notes until I can remember them. You can also study with friends by quizzing each other on the material. However, be warned: This may turn into a goofing-off session if your friends aren’t serious. Be smart when picking a study group and find a study plan that works for all of you.
3. Take care of yourself
The last (and maybe most important) step is to take care of yourself in the days before your exams. This should be obvious, but don’t make unhealthy decisions before your finals. Not only should you eat well and get plenty of sleep, but also take time for yourself. Do things for pleasure, and don’t just work your brain down to the bone until the day before the test. There’s a difference between making sure you’re prepared and adding unnecessary stress and strain on yourself. Take breaks in between your study sessions as your finals gets closer. And exercise often! Working out can be a huge help with stress leading up to the day of the test.
With these steps and a little dedication, you’ll ace your finals and be able to enjoy a great holiday break! Remember, vacation will come regardless of your grade, and you can’t get the time back. So study as hard as you can before, then you can relax as much as you need to during break. What are you waiting for? Go prepare!
For all the academic advice you could possibly need, check out Our Best Advice for Homework, Studying, and Tests!