The Do’s & Don’ts of Studying for Finals: Part I
All-Nighters: A Recipe for Failure
As we move closer to finals week and SAT, ACT, and LSAT dates, the temptation is to stay up later, get up earlier, study in marathon sessions, skip meals, and avoid showers (unfortunately). In point fact, pulling your hair back and into a ponytail often serves as the next-best thing to a shower…for guys and girls!
Unfortunately, this strategy, or series of strategies, has a real downside…over and above the obvious one!
Almost everyone has pulled an all-nighter at one time or another, myself included. It was one of the most grueling experiences of my academic life and one I wouldn’t want to live through again. My all-nighter came before a Social Psychology final taught by Professor Brian Blake at Cleveland State University. And yes, I got an A on the final and for the course.
But would I do it again?
If you have several exams over the course of a week or two, coupled with an all-important ACT, SAT, or GRE, adhering to the above-mentioned strategy or set of strategies will do more harm than good.
Instead of going all Kamikaze, here is a strategy that works:
- Begin at once!
- Set up a schedule and stick to it.
- Study in 45-60 minute blocks, depending on how dense the subject matter is.
- Take a 5-10 minute break and then resume.
- You can keep that up for 4-6 hours (4-10pm) and still get a decent night’s sleep (weeknights).
- Study in 3-4 hour blocks over the weekend. Remember to take breaks every 45-60 minutes. You will be able to study longer (3-4 blocks) and retain more.
- Don’t skip meals “because you just don’t have time” or you’re “just not that hungry right now.”
- Make sure you eat a decent breakfast loaded with complex carbs on exam day(s).
NOTE: Your brain is a voracious consumer of carbohydrates and you must replenish your body’s stores every day…several times a day during exam week. Think of yourself as a marathoner and carbohydrate loading a necessity.
Load! Load! Load!
More to follow….
Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts and strategies you use that work.
Professor John P. J. “Jack” Zajaros, Sr.
Westside Tutoring & Testing Services
Serving the Students of NE Ohio for Over 3 Decades!
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
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