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Top 10 ways to make studying for finals fun

Making the hardest part of the semester a little bit easier

Zachary Anderson es un escritor de Top Ten para The Cavalier Daily.
Zachary Anderson es un escritor de Top Ten para The Cavalier Daily.

1. Use snacks as a reward

Being motivated to put hard work into studying can be really difficult. Some people have started to use classical conditioning — a psychological principle that associates behaviors with rewards — in order to study effectively. This means that, in order to get the most out of one’s studying, there are small rewards promised as stepping-stones in the studying process. Truthfully, this is only fun when there are candies or other sweets involved, so when you start studying, make sure to bring your favorite treat along. Or you could go more extreme and make this a new dieting trend — you can only eat when you are studying ... I highly discourage this.

2. Listen to your favorite songs

Listening to music while working has been proven to benefit people in numerous ways while studying or completing important assignments — I’m actually listening to music as I write this. Establishing a good rhythm — by listening to music — can help keep studying momentum up, and it can also put you in a good mood. Turn studying into a personal party by blasting your favorite music! Unless you live in on-Grounds housing because … perpetual quiet hours.

3. Change the scenery

Being in the same study space for a while can be draining, so it's a good idea to get up, put on your mask and explore other areas to study — maybe you’ll even find an elusive study spot. The process of moving from one place to another can serve as a good reminder that everyone is cramming for their impossibly difficult exams and anxiety-inducing final papers. This is also a good excuse to explore random nooks and crannies of the University  — the gardens hidden behind the serpentine walls? A trek to downtown coffee shops? 

4. Quizlet games

Quizlet — a site that has saved many college students the pain of doing actual work — actually has more useful and fun functions than just serving as an answer key for that one class you’ll never understand. There are different game modes that can be played which really amp up traditional flashcard studying — Match and Gravity. Match is honestly the best way to go, as it encourages you to look at and memorize the important terms for your upcoming exams. Gravity is a much more difficult alternative that has you type out either the term name or definition. 

5. Caffeine

Caffeine is one heck of a drug — it can really shake you up with the jitters and keep you awake for hours. Need to mix up your studying? Try one cup, two cups or even seven cups of coffee. Boundless energy right at your fingertips seems like a great thing, but it is a good idea to not overdo it. I can speak from experience because you might not be able to sleep, even if you want to. So it’s probably best to have a piping-hot cup of Joe right in the morning as a start to a long day of studying. Make a Charlottesville coffee shop bucket list, and check each one off your list as you get coffee at different places during finals. 

6. Teach a friend

Teaching a friend the subject you hate will probably make them hate it too. However, teaching someone the subject that you will be tested on has been shown to be very helpful in improving how well you grasp the material  — your friend is surely going to ask questions as a result of your sub-par instruction. Verbalizing thoughts can make concepts easier to remember and understand, so, if you don’t have a friend around, teach a wall. It sounds weird because it is, but it could make the difference when exams come along. 

7. Watch videos

YouTube and Khan Academy are both blessings from above when it comes to studying for exams. There is definitely a video of someone, somewhere, who decided to record themselves working out problems for fun — how do people do that anyway? So grab your paper — and maybe popcorn — as you prepare for an academic marathon. Who watches Netflix anyways? Khan Academy is where it’s at!

8. Study with friends on Zoom

This will most definitely spice up your study process — friends can be helpful but also distracting, so be aware of what you may be getting yourself into. In my personal experience, a conversation about better business practices turned into a discussion about super batteries in Australia. In conclusion, you will definitely learn something when studying with friends, even though you might get off-track once in a while, which is all part of the fun.The best way to make use of a group study session is to teach each other stuff that may have been forgotten over the course of the semester  — see number six. 

9. Change your mindset

Honestly, this may be difficult for a lot of people, but there is a way to view exams as something more than just a GPA determiner at the end of the semester. I like to look at final exams like they are puzzles that have to be solved. This creates the mental illusion that studying for the exams is more like developing a skill versus head-on memorization. In this way it makes it fun, kind of like Sudoku or a crossword puzzle  — okay, maybe finals are a little more complicated than that.

10. Study in bed

Disclaimer — this only works when you are not tired. Studying when you are comfortable is possibly the best way to study. Studying in the comfort of your own bed promises a very quick and easy way to take naps in between study periods because there is no need to move between your desk chair and warm, comfy bed. Having caffeine in bed is one good way to prevent an accidental eight-hour nap — see number five. No matter how one tackles finals this year, it is very important to rest and study at your own pace.