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  • Samantha Liu

Study Smart: The Guide to Acing Finals Week

Now that we are nearing the end of the Spring 2021 semester, the dreaded part of the

semester is coming: Finals Week. I know that we have spent our entire lives studying for exams

like these, but have you ever questioned if your study habits were maximizing your performance

results? Have you ever questioned why you didn’t do so well on your exam despite spending so

many hours studying? The answer might be that, although you are studying for long hours, you

are studying hard instead of studying smart.

There is an old rule-of-thumb that says that each student should devote at least two hours

of study for each hour of class time that they have. This number adds up quickly; for students

taking at least fifteen credits, their total study time could add up to more than thirty hours of

study time a week. Being in Baruch College for two semesters now, I know that this college is

filled with driven go-getters who either have their own side hustle or work in a part-time

job/internship. These students might not have the time to completely devote themselves to

constant studying; thus, that is why it is so important to study smart using the following


1. Create a study lesson plan on your calendar

This part of studying smartly is one of the most important parts. Depending on when your

tests are, the study lesson plan that you make will be different for every test. By creating a study

plan on your calendar, you will be able to see all the concepts that you need to study and prevent

procrastination. Even if you only start studying a few days before, using a study plan will help

you organize your schedule and effectively plan your time. Just note that the earlier that you start

studying, the better it will be.

2. Study in short intervals with breaks rather than one long session

It is a misconception that it is better to study for one long session so that you can get all

the concepts in. By studying for hours upon hours, it is very easy for your brain to begin to

wander off and forget information. Instead, try to have impactful study sessions that last from 30

to 45 minutes with a break in between each session. This short amount of time allows for your

brain to maintain attention and retain information.

3. Practice, practice, practice

While only reading the textbook might make you feel like you are retaining information,

more often than not, you will only be recalling the information from the beginning and the end of

what you read. If your class requires the application of concepts, it is much better to do and re-do

all of the sample questions given during class and in homework. It also helps if your teacher provides you with previous exams. Take full advantage of these resources so that you can master

the concepts easily.

4. Find the best study environment for you

Since we have been studying at home for such a long time, it is also important to know

where you study the best at. If you find that studying in your room always makes you want to

either go on your phone or lay on your bed, then switch environments! There are many places

where you can go while remaining socially distanced and safe from Covid-19: the library, a cafe,

the park, etc. Take this time to find which environment works best for you and stick with it.

Of course, creating the perfect study plan is not as linear and straightforward as it seems.

Every person will have a different plan depending on how they best retain information. So with

these techniques, I hope that you are able to find your perfect study plan and ace all your finals!

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