As the holiday season rolls around, you’re presented with a myriad of distractions, in the form of orchestrating plans for break, watching holiday specials on TV and buying gifts for loved ones. But the additional holiday cheer does not mean a break in coursework—in fact, many students are gearing up for finals.
The last push before Thanksgiving requires focus, but it can be especially tricky to stay focused when you’re so close to the end.
Below, find our handy tips to help you finish out the semester on a strong note.
Tip 1: Create a Study Schedule
When you have three exams and two papers due in the next week and a half, you have to make smart use of time. Everyone has a natural tendency to put things off until the last minute. To combat this, create a comprehensive schedule. Force yourself to start working on things before you usually would by creating artificial deadlines. For example, if you have a paper due Wednesday, finish your first draft by Sunday and use the next three days to edit. This will prevent last minute scrambles, which makes your life easier, in the long run.
Tip 2: Try Studying at a New Time
If you regularly study at night, try waking up a bit early and working in the morning. If you regularly study in the morning, try sleeping in and studying later in the day. Change your schedule up so that things feel fresh. If necessary, drink some extra coffee to keep yourself alert. Another benefit to working at odd times: The steady trickle of phone notifications usually slows down during “off” study times, meaning there are less distractions.
Tip 3: Prep Your Study Space
Set up a proper place to study. Find a space where you won’t get distracted, whether that’s a library or a quiet room with a desk. Make sure you have whatever supplies you need: books, pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. If you have to keep running to find a pen or a pad of paper, you’ll find yourself getting increasingly distracted. You should also bring a bottle of water. You may want to have a snack, but steer clear of anything too messy or unhealthy—a granola bar or banana are good picks. If you can’t get motivated in your regular study spot, head someplace new. Try a coffee shop, or even just switch to a different floor of the library.
Tip 4: Silence Your Phone
Nothing is more distracting than a buzzing cellphone. Silence your phone, and put it somewhere outside your line of vision. If you don’t need your computer as a study aid, turn that off, too. If you do need your computer for homework, consider downloading an app that prevents you from using distracting websites. I recommend the Self Control app (available free online!), which allows you to block whatever sites you find distracting for a self-selected time frame.
Tip 5: Remember That the End is Near
Soon, finals will be over, and break will commence. You’ll finally have a chance to relax, without having homework hanging over your head. Think of your end goals, too—and remember that good grades accompany hard work. Visualize the end result, and use that sweet image to get you across the finish line.