Finals are around the corner, and the crunch always feels so stressful. Regardless how much time that I have already dedicated to the semester, I’m never completely confident that I’m ready for the final major exams, papers and presentations that will tie everything up for the semester. I always do fine, but the anxiety can be overwhelming because I know that my time to crunch is extra limited with a kid. I always start my study plans, and most times my actual work on final projects and papers, during this Thanksgiving break to ease some of that anxiety, but the one thing that really helps me keep composed is creating a solid study plan. This may seem impossible to do with a child, but as this blog has already proven (I hope), you can definitely get the extra work done that you need to with consideration to your child(ren)s needs, no problem. So I’ve listed seven helpful tips to creating a solid study plan to get through this stressful time, and enjoy your end-of-semester holiday break knowing that you aced your end-of-semester work while still taking care of your family.
- Give yourself enough time to really study. It doesn’t matter how great your study plan is if you don’t have enough time to get that studying done. Period. You can keep track of how much time you have for each assignment with an app like exam countdown so you can plan your work time accordingly. By using this app, you’ll be able to look at how much time you have to prepare for your upcoming exams, and compare it to how much time is pre-dedicated to your family life. You’ll be better able to know how to study smart for what exams are coming up, know what your kid(s) have going on, and be prepared for everything headed your way.
- Study smart. There are a few ways that you can do this: create a pretest that you can take of questions you anticipate in an app like quizlet, write a few sentences in your own words of each concept and use the difficulty of each explanation to gauge what needs to be studied and how much studying needs to be done, or use any other tricks you may have for gauging how much you know. Make sure to note what you need to study and what you can just review or skip so that you’re studying smart, not hard. This helps you consolidate the time you’ll need to study and spend more of that time with your kid(s).
- Block out time on your calendar or daily planner so that you know how much time you have to actually study and can plan accordingly. This can be as easy as setting a night routine with your kiddos (I have a blog post about how to do that here) saying any time that isn’t pre-planned for something else is study time (make sure to schedule in some relaxation time if you do this!) or by just making a note that you study at a certain time of day. You don’t have to go crazy with this, just know how much time you have to study.
It may also be beneficial to have a study routine set in place, like the one pictured above. I really like the 50/10 study routine because I know from my 50 minute classes that it’s a good amount of time to keep my attention and I like being able to block my time by the hour since PD’s schedule is also easily blocked by the hour, but it’s not the only way to study. Basically, if you can figure out how long you can concentrate on studying before getting antsy and how long you’ll need to regenerate from that session, then set up a study session that works best for you and your work flow.
- Get creative with your resources so that you can study in different ways. Spend a lot of time in the car? Record your notes so that you can listen to them on the way. I do this sometimes with PD, put in earbuds and turn on his music so that I can study while he’s singing along to his Spotify playlist. If that doesn’t work for you though, you may try a study app like studyblue so that you can go over flashcards easily on the go,like at the grocery store, walking to class or standing in front of the toilet waiting for your toddler to finish using it. Another great, old-school option is making games, like crosswords for keywords, if you prefer use your down time to do some fun-study. There are plenty of creative ways to study, so really brainstorm what works for you, and share some ideas with us!
- Plan study playdates with other college parents so that your kids can play while you all study. This can really help you be productive, meet other parents and create a fun environment for you and your kid(s). Make it a potluck or take turns bringing snacks and coffee to help make this study play date more of an event. You can take turns studying at one another’s houses or reserve a room at the library or another local fun location to really set the study/play-date mood that works for you and your group. You can find or create a group in your area using Meetup.
- This one may not be helpful for this semester, but creating a “command center” that helps your whole family move smoothly and get you all of the quiet time that you need can definitely be useful for semesters to come. It can be close to your desk or close to the door of your house where everyone walks in. This can help everyone in the house know what is going on, when you’re going to need extra help studying and keep everything you all need to keep up with in one spot. You can get creative and make it a place where you keep all of your files, mail, shoes, backpacks and whatever else you need to keep up with. This is great for the entire family or, if you have roommates, separating your household accordingly. I’ve created a pinterest board dedicated to different command centers so you can get some ideas. Alternatively, I’ve also created a board for study spaces so you can see some awesome, beautiful study spaces and see how you may be able to incorporate a command center into a viable study space for you also.
What tip do you think is most helpful? Which one will you definitely be trying out? Do you have any tricks up your sleeve for surviving finals? Let us know!
Take some time to check out our newest vlog post on the topic of finals, plus take the time to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest! I will be taking a break from blogging the next couple weeks to prepare for my own finals, but let me know what kind of content you’re hoping to see over the break and what you think may be helpful next semester so we can start the blog back strong for the new year!
Have a productive week and good luck with finals,