Review Strategies You Need to Know for Final Exams

Closeup of human hand reading

Final exams are right around the corner, and as much as you may be looking forward to a winter break, you need to get through tests first. Before you can open presents, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa, and sleep in late, you need to prepare for your end-of-semester tests. As you begin studying, take in these unique study tips to help you review for your exams. Continue Reading ›

De-stress and Take Finals… At the Same Time!

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If you’re a student, you know that the coming of spring is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, the sun is coming out of hiding (if only a little bit at a time), the temperature is higher, and the days are longer; it becomes more and more difficult to focus on schoolwork when the spring air is calling you outside. But then, on the other hand, you have the most dreaded of exams: the final exams. Everything you’ve learned over the past year/semester/quarter is all coming back to you—and you’re expected to regurgitate all of that knowledge back on paper. No, thanks? Continue Reading ›

Quick Tips to Make It Through Your Fall Term Finals

1. Find an “Accountabilibuddy”

If you’ve been reading eNotes study tips for a while now you’ll already know the importance of making flash cards and creating a study schedule in time for finals week, so here’s a new tip for you. Make a pact with a friend to be accountabilibuddies; you will agree to check in with and keep each other on the studying track leading up to your exams. If one of you strays, the other is “accountabilibuddyable,” and reserves the right to publicly shame you, or at least make you donate $1 to the procrastination jar.

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3 Tips to Overcome Test Anxiety

For many of you end of year finals are here, or if not, they’re lurking behind the next corner. If this thought makes your stomach drop or your palms sweat, we have some helpful tips for working past your test anxiety and getting the grade you deserve. Read on, and good luck!

test hall

It’s time for that final push before the end of another school year. Whatever form they might take – SATs, ACTs, midterms or finals – exams are just around the corner, and no matter how well you’ve prepared you still get those test-day jitters. If this sounds like you, don’t fear! Here are three study tips to help you calm your nerves before your next test or exam…

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Survivor: Finals Edition

Our top 10 study tips to help you survive dreaded finals week.

meet the parents 3You’re going out on a date tonight.  It’s with someone you really like.  You’ve been looking forward to this for several months.  But there’s a catch!  You have to meet your date’s parents first.  You really would just rather avoid this ordeal and get straight to enjoying the night with your companion, but it’s something that just must be done.  On top of this, you know that you should do it WELL if you want to feel good about it.  So you grin and bear it, put on as charming a face as you can and meet those suckers.  It’s never as bad as you played it out in your mind, and once you’re done, you feel like a million bucks.

This is exactly how finals are.  That date that you’ve been looking forward to is SUMMER.  And those intimidating parents that you have to meet are your finals!  Finals are a daunting obstacle to finishing the school year and beginning your treasured summer days, just as meeting your date’s parents was an obstacle to enjoying your night.  In both cases, students make way too much of a fuss than necessary.  I think I’ve told myself every finals week in college that I wouldn’t be able to get everything done and that I would fail a class.  I also remember doing everything I could in high school to prevent meeting my girlfriends’ parents.  These scenarios are much more intimidating in our minds than they are in reality.  The only way to get through these obstacles is to grin and bear it.  Once we’ve done that and taken care of business, we feel like kings.  Let’s take a look at some tips that can set you on the right track to nailing those finals and sitting upon that throne.

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Are You Right or Left Brained?

Ah, the secret life of the human brain. It’s hard to imagine that something that exists inside of each of us, that governs our every waking moment (and every sleeping moment for that matter), can be too complex for us to completely understand–more mysterious than the depths of the deepest ocean. In just one second, for instance, our brains can form one million new connections. One million. To keep up with everything your brain does, well, you’d need another brain.

One aspect of the brain that has always perplexed me is the concept of the left vs right brain. There is a persistent idea that the world is divided into left-brained and right-brained people–the former latching onto logic and analytical thinking, the latter made up of loosey-goosey, emotionally intuitive types. Throughout our lives, many of us purport to be either one or the other–an identity that is forged and enforced in school. Students proficient in Math and Science will adopt the idea that they are left-brainers, while those most skilled in Arts will identify themselves as right-brainers.

But if you’re not certain yet as to whether you are right or left brained, well, there’s an infographic for that:

left_right_infographic

It’s interesting how this infographic ties in to information that is already quite commonplace. The idea, for example, that left-handed people possess greater creativity (given the fact that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body). I had thought this idea was simply an old-wives’ tale. It turns out, this is only slightly the case…

“Right-Brain, Left-Brain Theory” was actually formed as a result of neuropsychologist Roger W. Sperry’s work with epileptic patients. His treatment for epilepsy involved severing the corpus collosum (the membrane that separates the halves of the brain). This effectively reduced a patient’s number of seizures, but drastically affected other aspects of their lives:

Many split-brain patients found themselves unable to name objects that were processed by the right side of the brain, but were able to name objects that were processed by the left-side of the brain. Based on this information, Sperry suggested that language was controlled by the left-side of the brain. (Source)

So, it is true that each side of the brain is better able to handle certain tasks. It is simply the theory itself that is over-generalized when speaking of individuals. While the right brain may be better suited to expressing and reading emotions, recognizing faces, and creativity, and the left may focus more on language, logic, and numbers, it is really how the halves of your brain work in unison that makes up the type of learner and thinker that you are. All Mathies are not entirely left-brained, and all creative types are not completely right-brained–something that may make you feel better when you find, like I did, that your apparently dominant side doesn’t describe what you feel you are truly best at. (Numbers? Who, me??)

That being said, there is some use for dominance theory in curating good study habits.

Understanding your strengths and weaknesses in certain areas can help you develop better ways to learn and study. For example, students who have a difficult time following verbal instructions (often cited as a right-brain characteristic) can benefit from writing down directions and developing better organizational skills.

In particular, I can recall a mnemonic that worked well for me all the way back when I was preparing for my AP Psychology exam–a rhyme centering around numbers that helped me to memorize Erikson’s eight stages of development. Maybe I have always been numbers-oriented after all?

So, after identifying from the graphic above whether you are  left or right brained, here are some tips to help you learn and study most efficiently:

Left Brain Dominant:

  • To Do lists will work well for you, and you’re probably already an expert at them!
  • You might find that you’re more partial to non-fiction reading
  • You probably work better alone than in a group. If you must be in a group, volunteer as leader
  • Take advantage of your organizational skills in taking notes and scheduling
  • Push yourself to take risks! They can pay off

Right Brain Dominant:

  • You’ll excel in essays, more so than on factual, T/F-type questions
  • You probably don’t always read directions carefully–make that a priority
  • Use images and charts in your studies
  • Use your imagination and creativity to its fullest on all projects
  • Organize your thoughts by getting them down on paper

Are you left brain or right brain dominant? Take the test to find out! And if you have any study tips to help others with your learning type, we’d love to hear them in a comment!