Check out these top 10 tips from the Communication across the Curriculum (CxC) program for making Finals Week 2016 your best finals week ever! These tips come to you straight from our CxC Science Studio coordinators and two of our CxC Distinguished Communicator candidates.
1. Beat procrastination! Having a hard time getting started? Set a timer for 10 minutes and set a goal of studying non-stop for those 10 minutes without distractions (Facebook, Snapchat and text messages included). When the timer goes off, if you feel good set the timer for another 10 minutes.
2. Study one bite at a time. Amy Adair, a CxC Distinguished Communicator candidate, offers this study tip: “One of my favorite math teachers always emphasized pacing yourself when solving a problem. Her motto: ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!’ Try to break up the workload of finals week into manageable ‘bites’ and soon you will be amazed at what you have accomplished!”
Amy is a junior majoring in mathematics with a concentration in secondary education and a minor in French. She is currently the president of the GeauxTeach Student Organization and a student in the Ogden Honors College. Her hobbies include making study guides and playing with her pet pig, Ned.
3. Stay Hydrated. Don’t consume more caffeine than normal - it dehydrates and can hinder your concentration and focus.
4. Take brain breaks. Study content for short intervals, and then step away and do something different (like exercise) before you come back to studying. It also helps to give yourself short quizzes throughout your study process. According to James Lang, author of “Small Teaching,” frequent recall of content through quizzing can help you retain more information.
5. See the big picture. Focus on grasping the “big picture,” or the overarching concepts you learned this semester. Stories that incorporate class information can help students recall more information later. Create a story structure for memorization by coming to terms with the big picture or big ideas of the content you need to remember, and then fill in the details with concentrated studying.
6. Rewrite your notes (by hand). Nikka Y Khorsandi, a CxC Distinguished Communicator candidate, offers this study tip: “I like to sit in a quiet area (usually my research lab), while I play music and rewrite my notes for the semester. If I am feeling really motivated, I like to then condense as much of my notes onto a single piece of copy paper as a quick fact sheet to refer back to while studying. It is a long and exhausting process, but usually pays off in the end! Good luck on finals and Geaux Tigers!” This is an especially good tip for memorization-based or multiple-choice tests.
Nikka is a pre-med Biological Sciences senior who will be graduating in May of 2017. He is involved with the CxC program, Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Honors Society, Dance Marathon at LSU, and the National Society of Leadership and Success on campus. He hopes to pursue an M.D./M.P.H. degree after graduation.
7. Pump yourself up with what you DO know. Don’t stress over what you DON’T know. Focus on consolidating what you do understand what what you do know and remember from class. Once you've identified those things, spend any extra study time you have going over content you don’t know or remember as well.
8. Sleep! It may be tempting to skip out on sleep during finals week, but this will only make it harder for you to concentrate. Try to keep a regular sleep and exercise schedule while you study.
9. Recreate your study conditions. Think about how you spent your time studying this semester. Were you listening to music? Did you regularly drink a cup of tea or watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix before sitting down to study? Did you study in a particular spot on campus? Did you study early in the mornings or late at night? Did you sit in a particular seat all semester? Try as much as you can to recreate these situations and conditions while you study during finals week, or even while you take your exams if possible. In other words, if you did not regularly drink a Red Bull before class or before studying this semester, don’t down two Red Bulls before your exam! Recreating the conditions that you regularly studied in may help you better recall the information you learned in class or studied earlier this semester.
10. Teach a classmate the content. When you teach course content to someone else, it helps cement your own understanding. Practice explaining the materials to different audiences. This will force you to concentrate on the knowledge itself rather than a very specific articulation of it. Practice explaining difficult processes or concepts, and even sometimes just basic facts, out loud.
What is the CxC Distinguished Communicator Program?
LSU Distinguished Communicators is a unique academic excellence program where students work to refine their communication skills and learn discipline-specific approaches to communication that will enable them to excel in their chosen profession. Candidates undergo a variety of training experiences and are required to build a digital portfolio, demonstrating proficiency in written, spoken, visual, and technological communication. They must also show successful use of their communication skills in leadership roles and experiential activities. LSU is one of the only universities in the country recognizing students who excel in communicating within their discipline. Learn more and apply to be a Distinguished Communicator candidate here.