Finals: this word alone can set students into a self-destructing whirlwind of stress and anxiety. Whether it’s a test, paper, project, cumulative, or not, a final has the potential to make or break a semester. Major key alert: the best way to ace a final is to know which study habit works best for you, find a study spot – or study buddy – with minimal distractions and focus on the task at hand. This is the only time where we do not encourage you to #GetDistracted.
Everyone has different methods of studying. Some need the buzz of others around them while others cannot work unless there is absolute silence. If you can deal with the chatter of people, then you can pretty much study anywhere on campus. The first floor of Club Richter is pretty noisy, as this is where most students go to work on group projects or meet for study sessions. The music library, hidden in between the Frost School of Music and The Rat, is also a great place to crank out that 20-page research paper. The music library, however, has garnered a pretty large fanbase over the years, so there may not always be an empty desk. It also isn’t an option for late-night studying, as it closes at 11 p.m.
Another option is the obvious: the Richter Library. The Richter library is open 24 hours once classes end, but if you’re trying to start the all nighters before then, the Kornspan Study Lounge in the Shalala Student Center is open 24/7 year round.
Senior Shannon Cooney likes to take her studies to the classrooms in Dooley, where certain classrooms are left unlocked all night. On top of having the entire classroom to herself, she can also use the white boards.
Studying outside is a nice alternative to the depressing walls of the library. Living in Miami, we have the luxury of being able to study for our fall semester finals outside. There are so many places around campus – gliders, the green, or the pool – to go if you want to cram for a test and simultaneously getting a tan. Who said multitasking was hard?
State dependent memory should be used as your newest method of obtaining information. It’s the idea that memory retrieval is most efficient when you are in the same state of consciousness as when the memory was formed. According to Dr. Elyse Hurtado, a psychology professor at the University of Miami, current research on state dependent memory its looking at different effects of mental states such as alcohol, Ritalin, Concerta and Adderal with memory capacity.
“If you study and you’re taking a lot of caffeine, the research does support that if you take a test, your performance would be better on caffeine,” Hurtado said. Some may believe that studying in the same classroom where you will take an exam will also aid memory retrieval, but this is not necessarily true. The only situation where physical setting has an effect on learning is in a “high distinctive room.” For example, if material is learned in a unique room, and a test is taken in that same room, the material is recalled more readily.
Listening to music can make studying less awful, but sometimes you end up jamming out instead of getting work done. To avoid making Club Richter your personal concert venue, try listening to music without lyrics.
Cooney prefers to listen to classical music, which is known to help students score higher on tests.
“The Pride and Prejudice soundtrack is all classical music and it’s the best at getting me to focus, especially if I have a lot of reading to do,” says Cooney.
Junior Courtney Milley has found what works best for her: video game music. She discovered this study tip her freshman year when she was studying abroad in Rome. Her mentor suggested it to her when she was struggling to study.
“It’s designed to make you focus, so it really helps to keep me from being distracted,” Milley said.
Junior Caroline Granger studies in blocks of three hours at a time. During those blocks, she studies 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off to avoid looking at social media when she’s focused. Granger has a lot to study, as she is preparing for the MCAT, so she likes to keep it organized.
“Keeping a study schedule and planning out exactly when each day I’m going to do specific assignments has been helping me stay on top of everything and finish what I want to accomplish each day,” Granger says.
Finals are rough, but it’s only a week. Remember that you are going to do fine, you’re smart enough to have gotten into the 40th best school in the country. Good luck ‘Canes!
Lizzie is a junior double majoring in media management and french. She is currently the Travel Editor for distractionmagazine.com, and writes for the print magazine as well. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Lizzie loves working out, going to concerts, traveling and of course, writing.