The end of the school year is coming up, and that means exams, projects, essays, and everything else stressful. We asked students how they’re managing their academics from home as we buckle down for finals.
Sarah Unowsky (first-year): Oh wow, I’ve hardly studied at all. For my last BCS open-notes exam, I spent a day typing up all of my written notes into a Google Doc so I could easily search for certain keywords as I took the test. I made sure to paste important diagrams and charts into the document as well. The act of re-reading all of my notes so that I could type them was extraordinarily helpful. Other than that…hasn’t been much studying.
Loren Cardani (first-year): My best piece of advice is that, no matter how you study, you should know the information well enough to teach it to someone else. Sometimes, I’ll find friends who know nothing about my major but will let me work through a challenging idea, and have a mini lecture! These days, I’ve had to be a little more creative, sometimes drawing molecules for orgo on my driveway in sidewalk chalk and explaining mechanisms to the shrubbery. Whatever works, I suppose!
Eisabella Sherwood (first-year): I would say that my experience with studying has been bad. It’s difficult finding motivation to study when I’m not in class, and trying to find the right balance between school life and home life is not easy when I’m home all the time. I’ve been doing a lot of what Sarah said— Google docs that allow me to search for specific terms during open book tests.
Yue Wang (senior): I love studying by myself in the mornings. I usually work with my friends after classes. I recommend reading your textbooks before lectures. I am also a huge fan of calendars. Visualizing my plans for the week and for the day motivates me.
Tony Lai (first-year): Studying has been much tougher ever since I got back home. Since there are so many more distractions, I legitimately just don’t feel like there’s this obligation to study any more. The tips I have are to either create some space that you can specifically designate as your working space, head to an area where you can specifically dedicate it to working at or just do S/F lol.
Hannah Sattler (first-year): It’s definitely been more difficult studying at home. I’m finding it hard to get the motivation to do work, and I have a lot of work now! I try to make lists of what I need to do and separate where I work and where I sleep. I also really like walking outside when I have breaks.
Zoe Bross (first-year): When it comes to tests, I am generally not someone who can go into it without any studying. I usually have to do at least a little bit of review for exams beforehand, because sometimes I feel like my memory is terrible. For information-based tests, I like to reread my notes (usually in the form of lecture slides on my iPad) and annotate the notes as I read through. I also like to play music in the background to keep me focused (but with no lyrics so it doesn’t distract me). When it comes to exams, I like to focus on practice problems and practice tests while working on them with friends! It always helps to have a friend you can work with and complain to while you are studying for a hard exam!
These responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.