It’s finally happened. You’ve made the trek to the library only to find it occupied by every student enrolled at FGCU, on the one day you really needed to study. People you’ve never seen have taken over your favorite spots, and even the quiet areas sound more like a cafeteria than a library. You can’t study here; enter res-hall studying.
With so many distractions around, studying in your living area may not seem ideal. But when it seems like you just have to catch up on the latest episode of The Walking Dead and the refrigerator keeps calling your name, don’t give in! Although it may not be your preferred study destination, it is possible to create a productive study nest in your room.
Here are five tips to help you study for finals in the comfort of your own room.
1. Make a Plan
Figure out what you will study and when. Not only will this help you to better organize the material that you study, but planning ahead of time will allow for minimal outside interferences. You’ll remember best during the day and early evening, so if possible, do it then.
Set study goals before you begin. Map out the number of pages you’ll read, how much material you’ll cover in a session, etc. Rank your classes in order of importance and mix it up that so you’re not studying the same subject all night. Your brain will thank you for the variety.
2. Tell your Roommate
This goes hand in hand with making a plan. Tell your roommate about your study habits beforehand and it will minimize problems (we hope). If your roommate knows that you’ll be studying on Tuesday night, he or she will know not to throw a toga party or to blast that Christmas playlist on Spotify. And hey, by telling your roommate ahead of time, maybe they will also plan to study when you do!
3. Eliminate Distractions
First, remove unnecessary items from your study area. Put those magazines under the bed or in another room. Then, keep the noise level in check. If listening to music helps you to concentrate, go ahead and listen, but if it’s going to make you get up, dance, and do anything but study—don’t do it. Try listening to classical or relaxation music. Unplug your television. Put your phone on silent or, better yet, turn it off! When you only see your study materials, you’ll be better able to concentrate.
4. Study at your desk. Or on the floor. Or in the bathroom. Just don’t study in bed.
If you’ve been through the finals process before, you’ve probably tried to convince yourself that you can study on your bed. After all, it’s comfortable, convenient, and when you’re done with test prep, you can go right to sleep. Well, you probably did go right to sleep, but without the studying part.
Think context. You’ll be able to recall items better when the study context is similar to the test context (physical location, as well as mental and physical state). You’ll be more likely to remember the material if you’re in a position similar to the one in which you’ll take your test.
So save the bed for sleep and sleep alone. Pull a comfy chair up to your desk and study there, where you’ll be in a more alert position fit with adequate lighting and a surface on which to write. It’s nice to find the right spot. The point is to get comfortable, but not too comfortable.
5. Take a Break
Do it. Whether you’re studying in the library or on the beach, breaks are important, but they are crucial for dorm room-studying simply because even if you plan ahead, there will still be distractions. Take short (short!) breaks when studying, and do it often. During this time you have permission to think about anything and everything except academics and the material… just relax.
With these tips in mind, you should be on your way to having a successful round of finals. Remember to eat well, rest up and make a study plan. Good luck!
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