Study Central: Getting the most out of your time before finals


Melissa Schmitz, Asst. Opinion Editor

Whether you’re the student getting overwhelmed by the massive amount of material or pretty confident with your skills, everyone has daily wasted time. The time you take walking (or driving) to class, waiting in line during the lunch rush, getting ready in the morning, using the bathroom, etc. can be used as study time! If you use these methods you’ll be surprised at how much you can study in those extra minutes, as well as how much down time you were wasting before! So what can you do right now to make use of this time?

Recording Audio Summaries

Nearly everyone is able to download an app or upload audio files to their iPod from their computer, so there’s really no excuse not to be using this technique! Some people likely record their lectures and listen to them later already. Unfortunately, that is a very inefficient way to use this technique, especially if the recording is of poor quality. Lectures are always full of questions or announcements and perhaps some jokes, so why listen to a 50 minutes recording when plenty of it is not needed? Instead, take your notes from class and summarize them.

If you use this at the start of next semester you ought to do this daily or weekly, but with finals quickly approaching, you may need to do it by chapter or concept. Whatever makes sense for you. Then record yourself reading it and listen to it in your downtime. You’ll have a 15 minute clear review instead of 50 minutes of class lecture. This method is also really great for when you’re sick, especially if it’s the completely incapacitated type. If you already have recordings recorded or if a friend is willing to record more recent notes for you, you can listen to them while lying in bed or sipping on soup.

Another way to use this technique is with audio flashcards. What entails this technique ought to be obvious; the flashcards are spoken instead of flipped. Many things, especially in science, should be understood, not memorized. “Cramorizing” does not stick in your head throughout the semester, and doing it for finals is even riskier. You might be able to memorize the material fine for the exam with this technique, or you might completely blank on that barely-there material during the exam due to “cramnesia.” So if you can understand the material instead, do it. If you have information with no context that simply needs to be memorized, such as Spanish adjectives or the names of amino acids, then flashcards are a great tool.

Strategic Paper Review Placement

Yes, much of your studying will be on paper. So while you’re at it, why not make little information sheets to post on the wall? If you have your own bathroom, put it on the wall in front of you instead of perusing Instagram. Consider posting it on your door so you will see it every time you return to your room. Have a comfortable sitting spot? Place it in that area. If you use your TV as a procrastination strategy, place it on the screen so you are reminded to study instead of automatically turning on and melting your brain. Have a loft or bunked beds? Place it on the ceiling so you can look up at the material while in bed. There are many places to do this, so get creative! Just be sure to replace the sheet with a new one after a while.

Happy [finals] studying!