5 Finals Tips For The Underdogs

I wanted to get this post out quickly before it becomes May 4th and my blog gets even more behind! With studying for finals, I haven’t had much time to brainstorm and really plan out all of my posts for this month just yet. So I’ve had to come up with this on the fly so just stay with me here. I decided that the most appropriate post was one about the main thing on my mind at the moment…finals! So here are 5 quick suggestions and tips that you probably already know but I hope you find them at least a little bit relevant and helpful anyway.

1. Get some sleep!

I know this is like impossible for any college kid to the point where most of us have just gone ahead and embraced the whole no sleep thing. But, I still believe that you can get at least a little bit of sleep. It’s important to do everything you can not to be up all night cramming at the last second. If you want to cram at all, make sure it’s right before you actually take your exam. Sleep is really important, red bull isn’t your friend. Chances are, if you take it, you might end up crashing right when you’re taking your exam and no one wants that. The best way to be fully focuses is with plenty of sleep.

2. Minimize your distractions

Setting aside some time where you just sit down and study all your materials for each exam is the best way to just center yourself on what you’re doing. I realize this is pretty much impossible but try to just stay inside your own little bubble. Don’t bring in any electronics or anything of that nature because you’re bound to get seriously sidetracked.

3. Use some white noise or instrumental/classical music

Music with words can be dangerous while studying because you start to simply focus on that and not what you’re studying. However, there are other types of music that work quietly in the background as you get to work. White noise is a great tool for when you want to buckle down and study. You can also never go wrong with some classical music to get you in the study zone. Modern classical music is good too but some (like the ones that are the instrumental versions of your favorite songs) may be a bit distracting, so watch out for that!

4. Work with others

There are both pros and cons to spending all your time studying for finals for other people, but sometimes it can be a very helpful thing to do. I recommend this one when you share a class with a friend. You both can share your notes and you can get some feedback if they caught something that you didn’t or vice versa. They might also give you some cool study ideas that you’ve never heard of before!

5. Find an organization strategy

Everyone has a different method to studying that works for them. Most students never had any need for them in high school so some of us may still be developing this as we go along in college. That being said, you know what works for you. I just think it’s crucial to at least have something set in place that is your own personal method that you know has worked for you in the past.

May Theme

Wow, I can’t believe that May is already here. Finals are just around the corner (Monday and Tuesday for me) and that’s just crazy to me that I’m already nearly finished with my first year of college. So I’m off to a late start for the month of May and I contemplated not doing a theme at all. But then I realized that sticking to one theme for the whole theme has helped me become a lot more organized and consistent with my blog posts so I might as well continue doing them. So this month I’m going to talk about underdogs: the washed up, those that have all the odds against them, and just those that you can’t help but root for and be inspired by. Some of these underdogs don’t ALWAYS win, but you always want them to due to the fact that they never give up. Some other words to describe them and just general words to think about this month are: outcasts, misfits, freaks, geeks, weirdos, round pegs in square holes, rebels, and dreamers. Basically the best way to sum up this month is this quote from Apple,

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

So this is the quote that helped me come up with this theme because it’s a quote that I come back to fairly often. Underdogs seem to have the whole world against theme but somehow they manage to find something or someone to believe in and they find a way to reach some level of success. Some of the things I’ll be talking about this month include: Broadway musicals, Disney movies, books about the world being against you, movies about finding a way to overcome, and also a few rad playlists, one of which will definitely be for those of you studying for finals. Plus there will be many more things that are going to be a surprise so stay with me this month!

Sidenote: Since I’m a day late getting started, I’ll also put my first post that should have been today sometime later on in the day so I don’t get too behind with my posts.

10 Quick Tips On Cramming

Cramming is something that chronic procrastinators are forced to do. Studying for any test in college can be overwhelming and waiting until the last minute isn’t the smartest decision. However, many of us just get busy and forget to study ahead of time. Here are some tips for those of you that are currently cramming for a big college exam.

1. Get some sleep

Prep up as much as possible before you sit down and study consistently for X number of hours. You’ll need energy if you want to study for long periods of time.

2. Make sure to eat

Try to get your energy up by eating at least a snack. Don’t skip any meals, make sure you’re getting the nutrition that you need as much as possible.

3. Highlight what you need

Make sure you single out the important points in the chapter or whatever you’re reviewing for. Don’t just study the whole chapter again and again, make sure you talk back to the text. Ask questions about what you don’t understand.

4. Make a practice exam

Read and answer the questions at the end of each chapter. Looking over these and analyzing how it’s set up is important. You can follow that before you make questions for a practice test. A practice test will help you prepare properly for the upcoming exam.

5. Type your notes

If you have handwritten notes, typing them helps. Looking over these will help you review as you type them up. Taking handwritten notes is important because it helps you retain information while you’re in class. This is a strategy I recommend trying.

6. Review graded assignments/quizzes/tests

Look over what you got wrong and do your best to see what you did wrong. Looking over this several times will help you retain this information and remember the right answers.

7. Work in the library

You need a quiet studying space and what spot is better than the library? It’s quiet and has a positive environment where you can get your work done with minimal distractions. Probably a lot better than any dorm will be.

8. Breathe!

This is an obvious yet one that we sometimes forget. When we’re under a lot of stress, we can forget to breathe. So just relax and keep on breathing as you get through this intense study session.

9. Have study buddies

Having a group to study with can be extremely effective if you stay on task. It can be fun to have someone else there to quiz you and to share ideas with. Just make sure your able to focus on studying only!

10. Use flashcards

Making your own flashcards on the particular subject your studying for is a strategy that pretty much always works. Make sure that the flashcards are filled with necessary information. You can use any other strategies to help you remember the information but this is probably the most common and effective one I can come up with. Then just keep on quizzing yourself and you’ll retain the information in no time!

Useful College Studying Sources

Flickr via Clay Shonkwiler

Flickr via Clay Shonkwiler

One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with when it comes to studying in college is not having many sources to turn to. It can be hard to endure studying for midterms and all your exams when you’re not sure the best methods of studying. Here are some of my favorite sources for finding what studying strategies work best for you!

How To Study

This website is really helpful because it has different guides and methods by subject. It also has general study tips, reading comprehension tips, and organizational tips. What I linked to was reading comprehension tips because I found those especially helpful. Sometimes reading my college textbooks can get a bit overwhelming and these tips really helped make that less daunting.

Study Guides and Strategies 

Some of these seem pretty basic knowledge you may already know but there are plenty of helpful guides as well. I found the time management guide especially helpful. I found the memorizing strategies helpful as well because I can always use those!

Study Guide Zone 

This one has so many different study guides that it can be overwhelming. There’s a lot of options here but that’s a good thing! Just find what works best for you. It’s pretty guaranteed that these site will have whatever subject you’re struggling with. They also have guides for those of you that are graduate students as well!

Academic Tips 

Yet another useful website filled with interesting tips. This one consists more of general tips than in depth looks by subject. However, the information is very specific and might be helpful for you guys for whatever you may be struggling with. It also may be useful for students that are not in college yet and are looking to get a head start on figuring things out.

SR Trends

SR Trends isn’t specifically a study blog. But it is a blog dedicated to college life and I found these basic study tips extremely helpful. It’s well researched and also has super pretty pictures to go along with it. What could be better than that?

Study Hack

Study Hack has tons and tons of cool resources and strategies. I personally enjoyed the speed reading, flash cards, active reading, and memory techniques that Kat gives us. It’s a really awesome and well organized blog that I strongly recommend!

Dani Dearest 

This is a personal college blog which is something I always enjoy since these are students that are actually going through this currently. I love Dani’s post about making your own binder dividers and I found that to be seriously helpful. I also love all of her posts about organizing and there’s ton of them! She gets really specific about organizing your computer and other applications which can be useful for those of you who are balancing all of your college assignments, schedules, or whatever else it may be!

Nitty Gritty English

A tool for those of you that may be struggling with writing college essays. This site has tips about avoiding plagiarism, proofreading, finding a topic for a research paper, and much much more. I think every college student could learn a few things from checking this one out.

Hopefully you’ll learn some new information from these 8 different resources!

Education Tips: Studying

Flickr via Steven S.

Flickr via Steven S.

These are some of my own education tips that I will highlight from time to time on my blog. This first one is going to be about studying.

1. Write down questions 

When you’re reading a textbook, don’t just go highlight crazy. Interact with the text and ask questions within the margins or on a separate piece of paper. I’m sure you’ve been told these tips before but I’ve found that it can really work.

2. Make sure you have no electronics near you 

It’s important to study with no distractions. Having electronics near you during that set study time is a major distraction. Make sure to put them in a different room or in a place where you refrain from touching them for an hour or so while you take time to study.

3. A quiet study spot 

Having a quiet place to study is definitely one of the big keys to having an opportunity to actually get things done. Having a place where you can just completely focus on what you’re doing and not worry about any noise or interruptions is really important.

4. Color code your notes

Sometimes when you take notes during class, they can get a little bit sloppy. You just try to write down as much as what the professor says as possible so your notes may not end up to be all that organized. Once your on your own and studying in your quiet space, make sure you go back and organize what you can. Use whatever works for you but I think it’s a good idea to dedicate one section such as key terms will be highlighted blue, important statistics and facts in green, and anything else you need to know in pink.

5. Have a schedule 

Scheduling it out is extremely significant. If you schedule it, you will be more likely to stick to it. If you just sometimes take an hour or two here and there, it becomes scattered and not set. Once that happens, you don’t have a consistent routine. Just make it much easier on yourself by taking out your calender and marking what times you have free and take it week by week.

Here are five tips that I hope you find kind of useful. You may know most of these, but hopefully this helps you see the importance of it all!

Advice If The Semester Isn’t Going Well

If you’re off to a rocky start this semester, you’re not alone. My college classes are a lot harder this semester as a whole. I think that the best approach if you’re already having issues, is to address the problem and then find ways to solve them. Here are some tips that have worked for me and other students in the past. Hopefully, you’ll find them helpful as well.

1. Make sure you’re organized

This is actually really funny coming from me since I’m ridiculously disorganized most of the time. I think I’m including it since I’m speaking from experience. I’ve found that being organized keeps you on your toes and you know what to expect. What I mean by organized is just having a system that works for you when it comes to what you keep your papers in. Do you put them in one binder or do you have notebooks and binders for every class? Buy more notebooks and folders if you need to, whatever you do, just make sure you have a way of knowing where everything is so you don’t lose important papers.

2. Have a system

Choose a system that works for you in terms of both scheduling out study time and the act of studying itself.

3. Take detailed notes

Taking detailed notes that you understand yourself when you look back on them is one important key to passing classes and tests. A lot of your notes will be a useful study guide. So making sure that you have solid information in those notes is necessary.

4. Make a study schedule

Make sure this schedule you make is realistic. Don’t set time aside on your calendar if you know you’re just going to ignore it in the end.

5. Study for tests in advance

Don’t wait until last minute to start studying. Professors usually give you at least a week or two in advance. Even if they don’t set a direct date, you can begin studying what notes you have and make note cards then add to them gradually.