How To: A Surefire Way To Pass Your Finals
Note: This article was originally posted December, 2010. It’s still awesome, however.
It’s hard to imagine how many cups of coffee are being consumed right now. By college students. Frantic college students. Yes, it’s “the worst time of the year” for many of us; our attempts to cram knowledge back into our brain that was forgotten the second week of the semester can be frustrating and time consuming. Many of you probably have developed your own study methods, or you just don’t study. No matter which boat you find yourself in, the following article can help you immensely on your finals. I decided to write this post to share my “surefire” study method; the one that has allowed me to get B’s on tests that I had no business getting D’s on. I’m not joking. Alright let’s get rolling.
- computer w/ microphone
- iPhone or iPod (any other mp3 player really)
- study sheet
The first step, and the most important in my opinion, is to create a comprehensive, yet also concise, study sheet. Some of my professors have provided a list of concepts to review, while others just say “study chapters 2 through 9”, which can be the worst. Regardless of your circumstance, you need to be sure that you have a list of essentially everything your final will be on. Double check what is on this sheet, because if it’s wrong then you are essentially wasting your time.
Record! Most laptops have built in microphones by now, and even if your computer doesn’t then you can get a plug in microphone for a few bucks at most big box retailers. Choose your recording software (I recommend Garageband on the Mac and Audacity on the PC, both are free) and begin to record. Make sure that you talk clearly, but also maintain a quick pace. Try your best to keep your recording in the 10 – 15 minute range, and if you mess up just continue; you can always edit out stumbles and mispronunciations later.
Edit, mix and export. Remove any dead space from your recording; the goal is to cram as much information in as little time as possible. Sometimes I put a basic instrumental track in the background, but other times I just leave it simple. Once you are satisfied, export the sound file in a format that your mp3 player supports. iPods and iPhones support AAC, MP3 VBR, AIFF, and WAV. Drag the exported file into iTunes (or whatever you use to manage your player). You can then even create some album artwork if you want. Once I found a photo of my professor on Facebook and used it to create 500X500 dimension album art. Last, sync your player (obviously).
Listen like crazy. You didn’t go through steps 1 – 3 without a reason; it’s up to you to wear out your iPod on the track you created. Use the “repeat” function, and try to listen as many times as you can without going crazy. Sure, you will probably start to really hate your own voice, and maybe you will you tune out here or there, but with this method it’s quantity of time over quality. The best thing about studying using this method is that you can multitask; study while driving, walking to class, cleaning, etc.
I super hope that some of these tips help you pass those dreaded finals! Good luck and let us know how it goes!