It’s the end of the first semester and all you want to do is just relax at home and watch Christmas movies, especially after a grueling week of studying for the finals. Alas, that is not possible if you have to take standardized exams in January. But it’s okay! Many people have gone through it, and so can you! But guess what? The Prospect has got your back. Here are some tips that will help you pull through the suckiness that is called studying.

Image from Google Calendar

Here is an example of a study schedule I made for my final exams using Google Calendar. Image from Google Calendar

1. Make a Schedule

At the beginning of the winter break, make a study schedule so that you can be organized and stay discipline. Buy a nice calendar if you like writing everything down. However, google calendar is another awesome option if you want to use a digital calendar. Use the calendar to write down the time you will begin studying and the time you will end studying on each day. Also write down what you are going to study. For example, you will do critical reading practice problems from 8am to 9am. Color code your calendar if you like. For example, if you are taking the several SAT subject tests, make one subject one color, and another subject, another color.  Make sure to add breaks in between. What I like to do is study for 25 minutes and then give myself a 5 minute break. Then after every 25 minute interval, I give myself a long break, which lasts 10 minutes long. This method is actually called the Pomodoro Technique. It’s a really good method to keep yourself focused! This website gives you the timers.

2. Clean Up Your Work Space

I absolutely hate studying when my desk is super messy. Maybe that is why my room is always the cleanest around the time I have exams. It will definitely help you feel more organized. Also, you wouldn’t need to waste time trying to find something that you need to study for. You would also need the space to spread all your stuff out and work more comfortably anyway. If you want, you can also decorate your desk to get the christmasy feeling. Of course don’t overdecorate because you can get too distracted by that christmas tree on your table.

3. (Christmas) Study Snacks

Even though you have to study, you still gotta eat! Not only will you not be hungry while studying, you can also make snacks as a stress reliever. (TP’s Jillian Feinstein wrote an article about stress baking.) I’ve written an article on some healthy snacks you can make (shameless self-promotion…). However, it is still the holiday season! So to get yourself in the christmas spirit, make some christmas themed study snacks! How about trying some santa hat themed pretzels or cut up strawberries and bananas in the shape of a candy cane? Maybe you can try something from this website? There are so many snacks you can make! Some may not be as healthy as others, but you know what? It’s Christmas.

4. Do Practice Tests

You will have a lot of time to study ,but the best way to really see how you are doing and put what you have study into practice is to actually do practice problems. Schedule in a time period in your study schedule for this. Try to do the practice test as close to the actual test conditions as close as possible. Don’t stop in the middle of it if you don’t know how to do something to look up how to do it. This way, you can see what you are doing right or wrong and what you need to study more. It will also help get you in test mode.

5. Let Yourself Have Fun

It is still the holidays! Don’t hold yourself back from hanging out with your friends and family. Allow yourself several days where you just go do fun stuff with your loved ones. Go watch a movie. Put up the tree if you haven’t already done that. Make awesome baked goods! Watch the TV show that you have been meaning to watch. Also, most importantly, don’t get too stressed out. Have a good holiday, guys!

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the author

Chloe is currently a student studying at a international school in Hong Kong. Her favorite subjects are biology and chemistry. When she is not cramming for her tests or rushing to finish her homework, she enjoys scrolling through Tumblr, checking Instagram, and watching TV shows (Castle fan over here!) religiously. Her obsessions include Grumpy Cat and K-pop.

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