Studying hard or hardly studying? Tips for an efficient finals week

Illustration of a student studying with a laptop and notebook
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It’s dead week, and you have several exams waiting for you right around the corner. Considering how much of a struggle studying has been for many students this semester, you’re feeling pretty overwhelmed. There are dozens of pages of biology notes to go through, countless math problems to do and 10 too many lectures to catch up on. Don’t worry, you’re not alone; we at the Clog are here to help. Here are some nifty study hacks to help you minimize distractions and maximize studying efficiency. 

Install BlockSite 

BlockSite is a free extension available on both Safari and Chrome. In the settings, you can add any websites you want to stop yourself from visiting. The free extension allows you to add up to six websites to your BlockSites list! Add Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and any other distracting sites you find yourself procrastinating on. If you try to visit any of those sites, a page will pop up, telling you to stop. Now you’ll be able to focus on your studies without alt-tabbing to that Korean drama you’ve been watching as you work. 

Delete social media apps 

If you frequently find yourself scrolling through social media instead of studying, this tip will be especially helpful. Say goodbye to everything from Snapchat to Instagram to TikTok. Temporarily removing the apps from your phone means they won’t be there to distract you! You’ll be able to more effectively focus on studying because your phone isn’t offering any tempting alternatives.

Keep your phone in another room

Out of sight, out of mind. Take any distracting devices, put them on silent and keep them in a completely different room from the one you’re working in. Once you get into the groove, you won’t even think to look at your phone. And because it’s in a different room, your body will get some much-needed movement when you’re forced to walk over to get it during breaks. 

Schedule your studying

Plan your studying as if you’re planning classes. Dedicate specific hours of the day toward studying different subjects, and know exactly what you’ll be doing (watching lectures, taking practice exams, etc.). Once you determine how you’re going to be spending that time, it’ll be easier for your brain to settle in and focus. For more study tips, check out these smart studying habits!

Take screen-free breaks

With classes, homework and nearly all aspects of our academic lives taking place online, it can be hard to catch a break from our screens. There comes a point, however, when our brains are simply too screen-fatigued to function properly anymore. When your mind starts feeling foggy from bingeing too many hours of lecture content, it’s important to step away. I recommend going on walks, working out, doing yoga or even just talking with friends and family — anything that doesn’t involve a screen. Even just taking 20 seconds to close your eyes and breathe can do wonders to help you refocus. 

Declutter your study environment

Keep your desk or workspace as neat as possible. If your desk is scattered with notes, pencils, snacks and other knickknacks, it can unknowingly stress you out. When there’s a lot of clutter in your environment, your brain is constantly working to process that visual information. This makes it harder for you to focus and remember things. Maintaining a tidy workspace is a good way to subconsciously improve your brain’s ability to concentrate. 

With so many distractions, such little time and a lot of information to pack into your brain by finals week, studying can be stressful. But taking the steps to minimize distractions and maximize efficient studying can help you make the most of your dead week. It’s also important to remember that studying is not all that this final stretch is about. Taking care of yourself and staying healthy is just as important as acing those exams. Armed with these tips and the resilience you’ve cultivated from surviving “Zoom University” this past year, you can and will get through this. Good luck studying, Bears! 

Contact Kristie Lin at [email protected].