5 Ways to Make Finals Easier

It's about my 8th round by now, so you better bet your shorts this fine young lad has learned a thing or forty two thousand and six by now. 

Got a couple tips below, get the notebook out, read 'em over once, twice, thrice, and give 'em a go. 'Aint no point reading nothing and doing nothing about it. We're trying to improve ourselves here and the first step to improvement is change. So let's stop imitating our boy John Mayer and start making the world change. Here we go team. 

1. Get it done early. 

Early means learning it during the semester, class by class, as you go. Eat an elephant one bite at a time. Now, chances are you probably didn't do this. That's okay. All you have to do now, is go back to the beginning of the semester, and start learning it class by class. Note the work is the same, you're learning the same material, you're just starting now not later. 

The earlier you start the better. That means starting studying today for the test at the end of the month. That means starting your studying in the morning, not late at night after you've procrastinated all day. Get up early when there is no one to distract you and hit the books. Hard. 

Set daily goals. Don't worry about anything more than one goal a day. You're going to learn chapters 1-5 today? Okay. Do it. And do it early. One task a day keeps the doctor away. Keep it simple, and keep it early. 

Did I mention it's always better to start early? 

Lazy people start late, because work sucks and no one wants to do it. Weak people put things off until the last minute when they have absolutely no choice anymore. Are you lazy or weak? Not anymore. Start working, and start working early. 

Early, early, early my friends. 

2. Sleep, eat, and exercise. 

You think you're being sneaky finding a meal replacement like Soylent so you don't have to spend time getting food, preparing food or eating food. You're so smart! 

Joking. You are very far from smart. To have energy to study, you need your basics. Cutting back on your sleep is lazy, because it will only result in less energy to study tomorrow and less overall work getting done. You need your ice cream with your veggies. To have energy to work you need to spend time recharging. Get your breaks in to eat and exercise, and make sure you sleep. 

You can't replace the basics. And you can't fight needing them. Were you lazy and didn't study until the day before? Time to go to sleep but you still have more to go? Then I guess we're writing a tired test. Or, we are going to go to sleep now, and hope we remember everything tomorrow. Either way you're hooped. Don't put yourself in this situation. I'm telling you now. 

3. Understand Parkinson's Law

"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion."

If you have a month to write an essay, you'll take a month. If you have a night, you'll take a night. You'll take as much time as you allow yourself to do what you need to do. So, want to know the hack? 

Allow yourself less time to do things. 

Going to the library for the whole day to do something that you know you could do in 2 hours if you really focused? Then go there for two hours, and get it done. Turns out you needed three not two? Okay. Take three. But, don't take the lazy eight you were going to take. 

Shortening the amount of time you allow yourself to work automatically increases your worth ethic. Have you ever pulled an all-nighter? Ever left something last minute? Obviously. So I am sure you know what I am talking about. With a deadline looming, you work hyperspeed to get things done. 

The key is to create artificial deadlines, convincing yourself something is due much earlier than it actually is due, so you can get things done early (see #1), and create less stress for yourselves. 

4. Understand Batching 

Have you ever baked one cookie at a time? 

I hope not. If you have, it better have been one massive cookie. We make cookies in batches right? We make many at a time. We're not about to take out the cookie mix, the milk, eggs, butter, chocolate chips, extra chocolate chips, and vanilla extract just for one cookie. 

Same with studying. Are we going to make it all the way to the library, find a library spot, set down all our heavy stuff we carried to the library and then study for ONE HOUR?! No! 

We make cookies by the dozen. That doesn't mean we study for 12 hours at a time, but it definitely means we study for longer than one hour. 

Batching means taking our studying and doing it all at once. Instead of doing a little bit here, a little bit there, and being at the library for 10 hours but only getting two hours of studying done. Batching means we get it all done at once. 

I'm trying to be careful here, because in some cases studying for an hour in the morning, afternoon, and evening is okay. The key to batching isn't NECESSARILY how much time you spend studying, it's what you're studying. So, if you're at the library and you're studying Earth Science, you start studying Earth Science, and you finish studying Earth Science in the same sitting. You don't get your mind all into Earth Science, thinking about rocks, in the zone, only to get half-way through your work and then start studying something else or go home. You'll waste all the time getting into the zone. 

Batching takes "set-up costs" and combines them together so you spend less of your time (life) setting things up, and more of your life getting shit done. 

5. Understand the 80/20 rule. 

While 80/20 can be applied to studying in a million ways, we will focus on three. 

LEARN THE BIG CONCEPTS. FIRST. 

There are a couple concepts (20% of concepts) that are responsible for most of the material (80% of the material). Basically, there are a few key ideas that, if you understand them well, make learning everything easy. The rest are just details. So, figure out what the main concepts are. Learn them first, and learn them well. This will make learning the rest easier. 

STUDY FOR SHORT PERIODS OF TIME. 

Do you ever find that when you're studying, you're very productive at the start, but as time goes one, you get hungry, sleepy, tired of focusing, and bored? Me too! I think everyone does. This is because 20% of your studying time gets you 80% of your learning. And 80% of your learning comes from 20% of your studying!

So, doesn't it make sense to study in short periods, getting most of our learning out of the way, and then coming back to it later, for another short period, to learn the rest? Yes it does. Give it a try. 

DON'T GET STUCK. 

I can't count the number of times I see my friends stuck on details. They spend hours trying to figure out one concept that, even if it is actually on the test, is probably going to be worth just a couple of marks. Don't waste your time like this! If you're trying to figure something out, and you can't. Let it go. Come back to it later with fresh eyes. Don't hold onto trying to learn it for hours. This does nothing! This only wastes you time. 


If you liked this, then give it a like! If it gets 10, I'll make a part two :)