Tips for Studying for Finals During Remote Learning


Maggie Mahoney

Writing notes and study guides by hand is one effective way to practice material that you’re learning online.

With the end of the first semester just a couple of weeks away, it is time for students to start thinking about how they will prepare for finals. Finals week is always a stressful time for students, but this year students may find that finals are even harder because of the faster pace as well as the hybrid format. Here are some study tips to try this year when studying.


Make a Study Plan

One of the best ways to ensure that you stay focused is to make a plan for when and what you study. Planning out the schedule ahead of time significantly reduces procrastination and promotes better time management, which are both crucial for success in remote learning. A study plan can be for just one day or for weeks in advance of an exam. When making yours, you should find a calendar, planner or app you use often and include the time frame you want to block off for studying as well as the topics you want to cover that day. This will give you a clear picture of what needs to be done each day, and since it is now scheduled, you will be more likely to actually do it.Sample Study Plan


Switch Topics

With fewer classes this year, students have already seen the negative effects of spending lots of time on just one subject. In order to stay motivated, it is suggested that students switch what classes they are working on during study sessions so they do not become bored and start to lose focus. Spending only half an hour on each class is more productive than studying for just one class for two hours.

Using a planner allows you to map out all of your responsibilities for the week to make tasks less overwhelming.

Take Breaks

In addition to switching topics, taking short breaks while studying is a great way to keep your mind fresh. A 2011 study by the University of Illinois found that people who continuously studied for long periods of time had a progressive decline in their performance while those who took breaks stayed focused and on task for the whole time they were working. However, when taking breaks it is suggested that you do not go on your phone but instead take a short walk, get a snack, talk to a family member or hang out with a pet.


Handwrite Your Notes and Flashcards

While handwriting things is much more tedious, it will have a greater payoff than finding a Quizlet online. Handwriting is associated with improved memorization and it gives your eyes a break from the strain of looking at a screen all day during online learning. Eliminating the use of technology as much as possible also helps reduce distractions and helps you focus on the material you are studying. 


Listen to Music

Playing music while studying makes it an overall much more enjoyable experience. Music has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety around assignments, and a study by Stanford University even found that lyricless music improves focus. You can use your favorite playlist when studying, but if that is distracting there are many study playlists available on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music that feature songs without lyrics that are great to play in the background while studying. There are over 20 playlists in the study music genre on Spotify, the most popular being “Instrumental Study” and “Intense Studying.”


While the virtual setup has made many aspects of learning harder, with good organization and these simple tips you will be well prepared for this year’s dreaded finals.