Finals season for healthcare students is amongst here. Implement these tips to optimize your studying and improve your overall performance.
Go in with a plan
Every test is not created equally. Without a plan, you can fall into the trap of distributing your time inefficiently between all of your obligations and risk not being fully prepared.
Prioritize those crucial classes that you need to do well in or the ones you feel less prepared for. Start by understanding what the format of each of your exams is going to be (i.e. multiple-choice, short answer, essay, etc.).That you can prepare a study plan effectively. Get specific. Breaking up your studying into bite-sized pieces that you can tackle one at a time is an extremely effective way to study.
Checking off all those to-do list items can also help keep that overwhelming feeling many of us get during finals season at bay. Plus, this helps you to track your progress and allows you to break for the day if you finish ahead of schedule.
Go to review sessions
Missed a few classes during the semester? Make up for that lost time by taking advantage of the final review session. Run through the material ahead of time so you can come prepared with questions. Professors will typically focus on the material that will be covered in the final exam so this will be a great opportunity to help you prioritize.
Prefer a one-on-one session with your professor? See if they have office hours open leading up to the final exam. Email is also another way to get clarification. Each professor will have their own approach to communication about their final, whether in person or via email, so just be sure to know what their preference is ahead of time so you don’t miss your chance.
Take advantage of on-campus events
Many colleges and universities will host events or giveaways during finals week. During college, my university would often have coffee and healthy snacks available for free at the libraries. One time they even brought in dogs from a local shelter that you could play with for a stress-relieving study break and on a different day we could sign up to get a free massage!
Colleges will often also adjust building hours, such as those for the libraries and dining halls, to provide extended hours to students up studying. Find out what resources are available to you ahead of time so you can make the most of your time and money.
Create a study group
Study groups can be a great way to retain information. They can also serve as an opportunity to share study ideas and notes (if allowed). Try reserving a group conference room at your school’s library or make use of an empty classroom after hours. But, study groups can also be counterproductive and a huge waste of time if you show up unprepared.
Be sure that you learn the material on your own first.
So your group study session is mostly focused on actually retaining information. Research has proven that teaching someone else the material you’ve studied, known as the protégé effect, is the best way to learn. Study groups are the best opportunity to be able to do that. I doubt your significant other will care to be taught microbiology as much as your classmates.
Record yourself speaking
Much of the material covered in medical and science courses require straight-up memorization. Whether it’s biology or pharmacology, recording yourself saying the material and then listening to it throughout the day is an excellent way to study.
When I was pressed for time in college, I would record myself saying the material I needed to memorize. I would listen to it in the 10 minutes it took me to walk between classes. Those 15 minutes waiting at the bus stop, when I was doing laundry, or even when I was exercising. Next thing I knew, I had squeezed in two whole hours of studying throughout the day from making use of 5 minutes here or 10 minutes there.
When you’re cramped for time, this is a great way to be efficient. Really make the most of every minute of your day. Just pop in your headphones and play.
This one is tough. Even for me writing this blog post right now. When you’re overwhelmed with a lot of work it may seem like a good idea to work on many things at once to knock them out. The reality is you’re likely not performing well on either.
Research is detailed, our brains simply cannot multitask. Multitasking actually makes you less focused and more stressed. Our brains even have a hard time recovering from multitasking. Meaning, fractured thinking and lack of focus continues even after we’ve stopped. Pick one task and focus all of your energy on it before switching to another task once you’re done.
Now that we’ve covered all the bases, you’re prepared and ready to go for finals week. Remember, it’ll all be over soon but implementing these tips will help the week fly by smoothly. Good luck with studying!
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