Between living on your own, trying to make good grades, and always being short on cash, college is often the most stressful time of anyone’s life. The most stressful week of the semester is the dreaded week before finals, also known as dead week. This week consists of trying to cram as much information into our heads as we can, while only running on a couple of hours of sleep, and a lot of caffeine.
Dead week doesn’t have to make your brain feel dead. With these easy study methods, and a whole lot of prayer, you can live through dead week—and do better than ever on your finals!
- Use an online study tool. Online study tools are great ways to quickly learn the information that you’re desperately trying to memorize. There are many different websites and tools you can use; you just have to find the one that works best for you! A quick Google search and you’re on your way to some of the best, easiest, go-anywhere study methods you’ve ever used.
- Read the textbook! I know, textbooks are one of the worst parts of classes because of their high prices, and how you usually don’t use them. I’m here to say that if you did buy a textbook for your class, read it. If you’re struggling to memorize a term, find that term in the textbook, and read all about it. Textbook authors often go into further detail and put terms in real-world scenarios, so the reader can understand.
- Get some rest! According to research, your memory is significantly affected when you don’t get enough sleep. You heard me right. Those all-nighters spent in the library are negatively affecting your brain. To really improve your test grades, aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep, drink a lot of water, and then study in increments. Studying for several hours straight (especially when sleep-deprived) is pretty much useless because your brain simply can’t handle all of the information you need to know. Taking a Sabbath (a day of rest) is also very important for not only your health, but also for your soul. The Bible says for us to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Even God took a day for rest after He made the universe. What makes us humans think that we don’t need a day of rest too?
- Know why you’re studying. During dead week, we often find ourselves trying to get good grades—so we have a high GPA to put on our resumes when we graduate, so our parents will be proud of us, or even so we can stay in our sorority or fraternity. What if I told you that none of these reasons should be the reason behind aiming for good grades? The reason we should be trying to get the highest grades possible is: God. God allowed us to get a higher education, that’s why we should try to do well. We cannot let this blessing from God go to waste, so that’s why we choose to work hard and learn as much as we can. Instead of pleasing ourselves or others through our good grades, we should focus on pleasing God through the way we use this opportunity He’s given us.
- Ask for help. Okay, so, we’re using online resources, we’re reading actual books, and we’ve got our heads on straight about why we’re studying—but we’re either bored, still have questions, or are just plain hitting a wall and don’t even understand the words in front of our faces anymore. Three words: Ask for help! Join a study group. Start a study group! Ask your roommate to quiz you. Stop by your professor’s office hours. Someone else might have great strategies for remembering the information you’re trying to cram into your brain. And it’ll be an excellent, tangible life-reminder that people are always better when we work together.
- Trust God and pray. Have you ever studied super hard, thought you’d ace a test, but then you tragically failed? I think we all have at one point. When this happens, we often think, Where did I go wrong? or even, Why am I so stupid? Instead of thinking these negative thoughts, we need to think, God has a plan for me. It’s just one test. I can learn and grow from this. Try not to be so down on yourself if you don’t make the grades you had prayed for. Remember, your worth is not found in your grades. Your worth is found in God. He knows your entire future, He loves you, and He is with you.
You can get through dead week and finals week. Just study effectively, remember to get rest, and pray about your tests. And, most of all, remember who you’re really working for.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 2:23-24 NIV