October 15, 2012

Collegiate Perspective: Making the Grade

It’s midterms time again and this year you’ll be ready to rock all your tests. You’ve been keeping up with your homework, going to all your classes and studying on a daily basis, right? About this time of the semester, most of us begin to have project deadlines, paper due dates and major exams—and then reality sets in. Whether you’ve been preparing for this since school began, or if you’re about to study your booty off for the next few nights, here are some tips to help keep you—and your sisters—focused and motivated to make the grade. Doing your part to help keep your chapter’s grade point average up this semester will pay off in the semesters to come.

1. Manage your time. Look at your calendar and plan your study sessions in accordance to the dates of your deadlines. This seems obvious, but it can help to have your week in front of you in a visual format. It makes things seem real and sometimes more doable. Schedule time to study, exercise and sleep.

2.Tackle the hardest material first. Highlight, underline, make flash cards and repeat. Make yourself a quick reference guide to refresh your brain right before your test.

3. Take breaks. Study in 20-50 minute periods with 5-10 minute breaks (but don’t let your breaks get you stuck watching cat videos on YouTube). It takes time for your brain to process and store new information. Even if you have a lot of material to cover, try not to have a marathon study session.

4. Outsmart your inner procrastinator. During my late night sessions at the library I always head straight to the “quiet floor.” The lower levels of our library are designed for students to study in groups and they tend to get loud during midterms and finals week. However, on the quiet floor it is easy to find space to be alone. I would advise you to bring headphones to help you zone into your studies. I also like to use a website called 8tracks (www.8tracks.com). This site works well for me because you can specifically go in and search for playlists that users have created for studying. The key words you can search for are truly endless: study+classical, study+instrumental, study+chill, study+relax, study+upbeat, etc.

Another good tool that I try to take advantage of when I’m studying in the library is a website blocker. Google Chrome has a great application for temporarily blocking sites that are distracting. Personally, I block Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, but you can customize the application to block anything. If you don’t use Google Chrome you can search the web for other programs that do the same thing; there are a bunch!

5. Get your chapter excited about making grades. As extrinsic motivation for our sisters, my chapter started a contest that we like to call ‘smarty panties.’ When sisters in our chapter make good grades on tests and exams, they send pictures of the grades to our scholarship chair. Our scholarship chair then puts the names of the girls who made awesome grades into a drawing for our Monday meeting. Once a month, we draw for Victoria Secret gift cards! It isn’t much, but it sure is good motivation—and the extra shopping money doesn’t hurt either.

6. Remember to take care of yourself. Your body and your mind need to work together for you to recall the information you’ve learned (or crammed). If you can schedule the time, go exercise. Try to work in a yoga class or a spin class or even just a run. Give your mind a break from excessive thinking and help your muscles release some of the tension from hours of sitting at a desk.

Try to make healthy choices for your body. We know that energy drinks and carbonation are not the best choices, and too much coffee will dehydrate your body. Try sipping on lemon water, or green tea. You’ll be able to stay focused and hydrated and you’ll avoid the crash that energy drinks and coffee can cause. Also, if you have the time, take a power nap. Sleep deprivation will only intensify any stress or anxiety that you’re feeling.

Good luck! Study with your sisters, breathe and smile! The stress is temporary.

Alexandria Hudson is a collegiate member at the Gamma Eta chapter (North Texas). Read her bio here.

1 comment:

Serena said...

Thank you Ali for these great tips!! I have three exams this week and will totally put these in action while studying!!