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Finals 101

Photo by Alberto Qperello// Wikimedia Commons.

Winter break is almost here, but first students must get through finals week. Luckily, there is still time to perfect study habits and avoid cramming in order to ace those final exams.

Are group study sessions a good idea?

Group study sessions can be a great way to review topics with your classmates. They are most effective when everyone has already studied on their own and can discuss the topics more in-depth. Just be careful not to get off topic and turn study time into social time. If you know you won’t be able to focus in a group, it might be best to study by yourself.

However, quizzing is one of the best ways to test your memory, according to the American Psychological Association. Pairing up with a friend from class or your roommate to review key concepts will help you make sure you remember information for your exam.

Where are the best places to study?

For finals week, the best place to study is somewhere you haven’t been going all semester. Altering your study space can help improve memory and retention, according to the New York Times.

Campus libraries and the Information Commons will be busier than normal during the week of exams, so students looking for a calm environment should search elsewhere. Off-campus coffee shops or open classrooms are alternatives to the hectic IC.

Should I spend the whole week studying?

No. Over-studying for a test can almost be as bad as not studying at all. Study sessions that span over several hours actually cause someone’s “attentional resources” to plummet, according to a 2008 study by the University of Illinois. This means students stop processing their notes because they stop paying attention to them, said the study’s leader Alejandro Llera. Two- to three-hour study sessions are more effective than a day spent in the library.

How should I spend my study breaks?

Exercising is a great way to spend breaks. Moving around burns the bottled-up energy you have from a day of studying, and is a great stress reliever.

Students can also attend the Finals Breakfast, during which professors serve breakfast to their students for free. This semester the breakfast is expected to take place on Dec. 9, from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m throughout Damen Student Center and the Centennial Forum Student Union on the Lake Shore Campus and from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at Kasbeer Hall in the Corboy Law Center on the Water Tower Campus (WTC).

Campus Recreation at the WTC Fitness Center will also offer “Candlelight Yoga” Sunday Dec. 7 to de-stress and recharge from the first week of finals at 8 p.m.

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Grace Runkel is the former editor-in-chief of The PHOENIX. She’s from Floyds Knobs, Indiana, a small town just north of Louisville, Kentucky. There she’s interned with multiple news outlets, as well as at WGN in Chicago. One of her favorite journalism memories is getting to interview Lee Crooks — the voice of the CTA.

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