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Finals at MSU: Nine Strategies for Success

“Shit,” you think to yourself as you realize exam week is already here (Note to all test takers: professors find it edgy and cool when you start any written document with the word “shit”). You quickly log on to D2L to figure out when your exams are taking place, and realize that your time is running thin. You begin to panic. How could you possibly learn so much information in such a small amount of time? Then it hits you. Between The State News and the flyers on the dining hall tables, there are some solid study tips that will magically teach you everything about everything before your exams. After a quick Google search, you realize your hunch was right! Thanks for your help, MSU!


Eat plenty of healthy snacks: 
Brain food is always helpful, keeping your energy levels high and your senses acute. While studying for your finals, keep in mind that if food tastes remotely good, it will kill you. Instead, stock up on plenty of fruits and vegetables, keeping in mind that bananas are stuffed with potassium, that apples are rich in flavonoids (whatever those are), and that onions are an awesome scapegoat when your roommate catches you crying.


Put your phone in another room:
Disconnecting from the world removes 80% of possible distractions from your studying, and allows you to immerse yourself in the subject you’re pretending to study. Additionally, if you can overcome the intense social anxieties that come with being without your phone for fifteen minutes, any stresses that come with exams will be a breeze.  


Make flashcards:
After looking over so many notebooks and PowerPoint slides all semester, your brain has mastered the art of completely rejecting any nonsense you’ll read from a book or a screen. Luckily, you can still fool yourself into remembering information if you copy it onto a 3-by-5 card.


Take breaks!:
It’s basically impossible for you to study all the time, so make sure you occasionally give your brain a few minutes to recharge and have fun! Use this time to calculate the grade you need to pass a class, to watch a quick 20-minute show on Netflix, or if you’re really feeling sassy, to quickly rub one out. When you get back to the books, you’ll feel refreshed and ready to go!


Do not pull all-nighters:
Make sure you’re well rested before taking any exam. If you find that you’re feeling low on sleep, the best thing to do is to take a power nap. Power naps are rejuvenating techniques for your brain that involve you closing your eyes and avoiding your life problems for anywhere from 15 minutes to forever.


Twenty minutes of cardio is not only great for your heart and lactic acids or whatever, but it also gets blood pumping to your brain, allowing you to retain information much more efficiently. Sure, you haven’t exercised all year, but you’d be amazed what you’re capable of when you’re doing everything you can to avoid reading 13 chapters of some kind of weird science stuff.


Record important dates:
It’s imperative that you know when and where your exams are taking place, because having them at the time and place you’ve met all semester just wouldn’t make any sense. Keeping an agenda is also helpful this week because people become increasingly desperate when stressed from exams, and you may actually have a shot at scoring a Tinder date. Congrats!


Set a responsible study schedule:
Don’t wait until the day before the test to begin studying. Start at least two days before. Your procrastination trends this semester have you doing what you say you’ll do 2-3 days after you predict, and studying after the exam only makes sense if you’re in James Madison.


Build an all-star study group:
Surround yourself with people that are up to your standard of performance. While your roommate is a great friend, his levels of success are lacking, and you don’t want that rubbing off on you. Surround yourself with a group of winners, including MSU alumni Magic Johnson, baseball legend Derek Jeter, and upcoming actor and star of the new comedy Trainwreck LeBron James.


With advanced study tips like these, you’ll probably only need to put in about 30 minutes total of hard work. If The Black Sheep has found one thing to be key to success, it’s definitely drinking less. Try to limit your alcohol consumption to no more than four days a week until your exams are over. Rick’s can wait, but $2 10-inch pizzas at FieldHouse on Thursday? Well, we’ll leave that up to you.


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