Finals are upon us here at Cornerstone and probably quickly approaching if you’re in high school. Now is the time to figure out how to avoid procrastination and finish strong. These are tried and true methods that have gotten me and my friends through many finals.

How to Study

Don’t be afraid to take breaks. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s really important. If you can spend thirty minutes studying and then have a five-minute break, you know you have something to look forward to – a goal to achieve. If you can stay focused for that thirty minutes, it’ll probably end up being a lot better study than the two hours you were distracted.

When it comes to being distracted, you have to know yourself and what’s going to make it hardest for you to stay on task. If you get distracted studying with friends, you should limit that time and prioritize studying on your own. I always try to get the bulk of my studying done on my own time and then work on smaller tasks with friends so I feel free to be present with them.

You can turn your phone on do not disturb or airplane mode so that all incoming messages will be muted and your phone won’t buzz. For a lot of us, our phones can be the biggest distraction when trying to focus.

Switching it Up

You can change up study spots to give yourself variety and new motivation. Sometimes it’s great to have a consistent place to go that you know works well for you, but when you find it really hard to study it may be best to switch it up.

Find times that work well for you to study. Maybe you’re a night owl or an early morning person. Maybe there are certain gaps in between classes that work best for you. Find what works and stick with it, but again, within reason. Don’t make it so scheduled that it gets to be a drag. Know that ultimately YOU are the one in charge of your study time.

You can take walks or get up and stretch in your study sessions. It’s scientifically proven that exercise clears our heads and allows us to think with more precision. You can then come back to your work with renewed energy and focus.

Staying Motivated

It is crucial to find a way to organize your assignments, whether that is a planner, an online to-do list, Google Calendars or another one of the options out there. It just depends on your preference. Once you figure that out, it allows you to be more organized and to be able to gage where you are at.

You can set small, attainable goals. I’m the type of person that makes a long to-do list and thinks I will be able to accomplish every single one. When I get to the end of the day and realize that I didn’t complete every task, I end up more frustrated that I didn’t do everything, rather than satisfied with all that I did do. I learned from the CIHI program here at Cornerstone that it is beneficial to focus on two things at once. Any more than that can become overwhelming and reduce the quality of the end result. I have found that it does help me to be more productive when I can complete those two tasks and then move on to the next two. It’s so much more manageable than a long, arduous list of to-dos.

You CAN Enjoy it

Avoid over studying at all costs. Sometimes, we think the amount of time we spend on studying is what impacts our grades rather than the quality of our study time. I had a human bio class freshman year that I spent hours studying for. After a while, I realized that I was actually taking in a lot of information that I didn’t need rather than focusing on the information I did need and really comprehending it.

You can enjoy studying! I’ve had projects where I was passionate about what I was doing and poured hours into it. I now have portfolios and websites that I am proud of and can show future employers.

Check out our Center for Academic Success and how they can aid you in your learning experience!