You Can Do It!
Sarah L. McCuskee '13 works diligently on a paper for her tutorial in literature.

Life is great. Classes have finally ended and you’ve broken out your best holiday playlist, filled to brim with classics like “Deck the Halls” and Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” . But then you suddenly remember that the hardest two weeks of the semester are looming ahead. That’s right: finals are literally just around the corner. We wanted to take a break from our otherwise hilarious content to share a few study tips:

Make Notes Worth Studying: cut through the crap of lecture notes and psets, decide what’s important and put it on one page. If it doesn’t fit on the page, it’s probably not that important. Color code, decorate, whatever works for you. Put it on your desk or your dresser, wherever you’ll see it often. But the most important part is making the sheet, so don’t take your friend’s cheat sheet and put it on your wall instead of doing it yourself.

Test Yourself Often: Put away your notes for half an hour, go chat with your roommate, then get out a fresh sheet of paper and write down everything you remember. Compare with your previous notes and fill in the blanks in a different colored pen. Or, if you’re feeling really intense, make a practice test (with an answer key) for friends in your section–you’d be surprised how often you can guess the types of questions that will be on the actual exam.

Location, Location, Location! Like real estate, where you study matters almost as much as how you study. We think it’s best to switch it up, keep things interesting. Maybe treat yourself to a Café Crema latte and crank out an essay (no internet access, so you won’t be distracted by Facebook), or check out the silent room in Widener. When you feel yourself losing momentum, take a short walk, fill up your water bottle, or change locations entirely. Sometimes breaking your rhythm can make you more productive.And if you want to be really creative, go study outside of the Harvard bubble. Here’s a list of great locations.

Plan Ahead: if you’re reading this article, you’re already on your way to planning ahead. This is the oldest advice in the book, but still the best. A little bit of studying every day is far better than a lot of studying one day–your sleep schedule and your mental health will thank you. So make a study plan now, block out an hour per day per subject, and avoid that last minute cram.

With that said, don’t forget to take lots of breaks. The weather is still bearable, and it’s the holiday season, so don’t waste away in Lamont café. Happy studying!