May the 4th Be With You – How to Study For Finals Like a Jedi

It's the first week of May and that means two very important things – first, that finals are now just a few short weeks away! Second – get your lightsabers out and grab a glass of blue milk, because Star Wars Day is here!

stormtropper reading a book in a bookstore

In the pop culture/fandom world, there's not much better than a well-executed pun. Make it a Star Wars pun, and you're basically golden. So much so, an entire day was created to celebrate the happenstance of a date coinciding with one of the most famous well-wishes in pop culture - thus, Star Wars Day, or May the 4th (be with you) was born. (Remember to also beware of Revenge of the 5th!)

The Force is strong with us here at Coastline, so not only to celebrate but to also help you prepare for the fast-approaching and (not really) anticipated finals week, we’re here with the best finals training a young Jedi could possibly ask for. Worry not Coastline padawans - even an Imperial stormtrooper can become a "Finals Master" after following these tips! Although admittedly, it probably still won't be able to do much for their aim...

Explore Academic Support Options @ Coastline

yoda sitting in a meditative pose on rocks under a green light

Patience you must have, my young padawan.

Studying for tests takes time and dedication! Set aside time in your day to review for upcoming tests and create a study plan according to when your exam will take place. Give yourself at least a couple of weeks before your exam to start studying and reviewing. You want to make sure you give yourself a long enough time frame to space your studying out to a few hours a day instead of a three-day (or even single night) marathon cram session.

a clone trooper action figure doing yoga on balanced rocks

Be one with the Force.

Practice meditation and relaxation techniques like yoga or breathing exercises so that you can manage your stress. Nothing can hinder your focus more than stress. Trying to focus on studying while your mind continues to remind you of bills that need paying, errands that need run, and chores that need doing can be downright frustrating. Before you sit down to start your study session, take a minute or two to temporarily clear your mind of any normal stressors in your life (they’ll still be there after you’re done studying, so setting them aside for just a few hours won’t hurt).

Need some ideas on exercises you can do to clear your mind? Coastline’s Mental Health Services has a video series of Mental Health Minute exercises that are fantastic options for clearing your mind and pulling in your focus for a productive and successful study session.

action figures of C3P0 and R2D2 in the sand at the beach

Are these the droids you're looking for?

Keep all of your notes, study guides, and supplies in one place, like on your desk or in your backpack. Make sure it's somewhere close to where you study so that you don’t have to scrounge around for the proper study materials. As I mentioned in the last tip, staying focused and avoiding distractions like everyday stressors is one of the most important things to remember when starting a study session, and nothing can distract you and delay a study session more than having to hunt down and pull all your materials together.

A good extra step is also making sure to keep your materials themselves organized. Having to sift through papers or even search through a folder full of random files from multiple courses can easily drain valuable mental energy that could better be put towards actual studying. Organize your materials at the very least by course so you can easily access the resources you need to jump right into studying.

Find Places to Study @ Coastline

overhead view of small beads that read come to the dark side i have coffee around a coffee cup

Resist the power of the Dark Side!

Stay focused by reducing your distractions like putting away your phone when you study or finding a quiet space where you can concentrate. I’ve mentioned avoiding various types of distractions a lot already, and those have been distractions that can get you before you even start actually studying.

Once you’re ready to sit down and dive in, minimize the distractions around you that could easily pull you out of focus. This could look entirely different for everyone – for some, it’s just a matter of putting your phone away. For others who are more easily distracted, it could even be just an open window to stare out of and get lost in. This is where it’s important to understand your brain and what your unique distractions are, as well as what aids could possibly help you focus. For example, for some, music helps bring their focus in. For others, music would be a distraction so total silence is preferred. Do some self-reflection and nail down both what your main distractions are and some tools you could possibly use to help center your focus. Don’t fall victim to the dark side of distractions, even if there are cookies or coffee…

star wars droid BB-8 in a desert

Don’t BB-hungry, BB-"Ate" instead.

(Speaking of cookies…) Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water to nourish your body. You'll feel better and more alert when taking your exams. When studying, make sure you’ve had a good meal before starting, or at least have had enough of a pre-study snack so you don’t get distracted or even end up cutting your session short if/when you start to feel hungry. Make sure you’ve got some water or coffee with you so you don’t have to worry about getting up and getting a drink when you’re thirsty or need a little caffeine kick.

On the day of your exam, make sure you eat a good, nutritious, filling breakfast for the same reasons. A well-balanced meal also helps your brain fire on all cylinders by providing those essential nutrients your body and your brain need to in order to function at 100% human (or as close to it as we can get sometimes).

This is YOUR way.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember when preparing for finals is managing your stress so you can allow yourself to focus. The actual process of how you do that is going to be different for everyone, though, so it’s ultimately up to you to figure out what works best. If you’re someone who needs order and silence to best focus, make sure you’ve got your materials organized and a quiet, peaceful spot to block out the world. If you’re like me who is actually more at home with some loud music and a cozy study nook, build your pillow fort and turn your headphones up to 11. So, “close your eyes…feel it…the light…it’s always been there. It will guide you.” Listen to your brain and your body as finals approach and figure out what they need to best succeed – then you will truly be one with the Force and ready to ace those Jedi trials! …I mean, final exams.

Good luck on your finals, Dolphins, and may the Force(4th) be with you!

Apply @ Coastline

Related Posts

Student Feature: How Perseverance and Determination Leads to Open Doors with Athena Nino

Student Feature: Honoring Growth, Change, and Self-Validation with Adriana De La Rosa

Student Feature: Discovering a Passion for Advocacy with Lexi Thicksten

Soroptimist Scholarship Winners: “Live Your Dream” and the Helping Hands Available to Get You There