Efficient procrastination for finals from an AP student

Cameron Iizuka, Editor-in-Chief

While from my schedule it would appear that I am a very rigorous and organized student, the former is correct, but the latter not so much. For example, I completed all of my homework for winter break on the Sunday before we returned, yet in the past 72 hours from the time of writing this article (Monday, Jan 6), I have slept for nine of them… to say the least, I get things done, but as a detriment to my sleep schedule. 

Now that we’re finally upon finals season, my trusty plan of procrastinating shan’t fail me and I’d like to drop some knowledge for anyone out there that, like me, can’t seem to sit down and manage their time for their circadian sleep benefit. 

For one, if you’re struggling with a science or history class, don’t read the textbook (and if you’re struggling, you probably haven’t been anyway). Or at least, don’t read the textbook like a novel. We are never taught in school how exactly to read the books it gives us, so we’ve all just gone along with the idea that we should read them as we would a copy of “The Odyssey” or “To Kill A Mockingbird” and it’s just plain false. 

The first thing you should always do with a textbook is flip through the chapters you need to read, just comb through and look at the graphs, how many words are on the page, if there are maps, whatever visual you can. At this point, do not read the book, just look at what you may come across. 

Next, flip to the end of the chapter and check if the authors blessed you with a review paragraph or review questions. You should read those so you know what to expect. Now go back to the beginning and flip through the chapter to search for bolded titles, events, definitions, and any other words that pop out at you. Familiarize yourself with these, because they must be special for some reason. 

Finally, read the first and last sentence of every paragraph and take brief notes on anything vague or new to you. This method is primarily aimed at familiarizing yourself with the language and the sequence of ideas, but not for rote memorization. 

Next, if math or science is just boggling you, don’t keep doing the same problems over an over in your workbook, turn to outside sources. Khan Academy and Youtube have thousands of combined lessons on all levels of math and science that are all free. Personally, I like watching the videos to initially learn something and then pausing it on a new problem to solve it myself and checking my progress with the solution in the video. 

Unfortunately, math and science-related problems are the kind where if you aren’t familiar with an idea, you most likely will not understand it or work your way through it, so in the case of these work-videos, it’s key to grind on them as well as watch different teachers and problems to get as much exposure to the material, then taking that and finding patterns in certain problems, understanding steps for solving, and connecting multi-step problems with one another.

Lastly, if you have all the materials you need and now you just don’t feel like studying, remember to work in small doses. It does absolutely good to walk into finals after studying for 10 hours straight the day before, neither does it feel good. The better idea would be to work with ways to trick yourself and offer rewards in order to remember things better. 

(Before you even pick up your notes, consider harnessing your selective negligence. Always check what you have to get on your final before you begin studying so you know what to ignore and what to focus on. No one cares if you get a 60 percent on the 10 percent-weighted final in the class you have a ninety nine percent in. Sis, you still got an A.)

Another technique would be the 1-5-15. In this, you practice focused studying for one hour, followed by a five minute break, followed by a 15 minute review of whatever you just went over. The first time you do it, it’ll feel difficult to know what exactly to focus on and where to target your 60 minutes, but if you begin with a study guide or a list of information or even vocabulary you should comprehend, it’ll improve the effectiveness of your time. 

Remember to remove ALL distractions, be it phones, pets or snacks, those can all come during the break, but in the meantime, it’s study time. Next, take your five minute break and then return with a full review of everything you covered in your review lesson. Focus first on the items you absolutely need to know and when you have more time, work on things that may or may not be on the final. 

Whether you grind it out for the next three weeks and develop a rigorous calendar for your woes or you begin studying on MLK Day, I hope these tips can help you get whatever grade you need to keep your parents from beating you with a slipper.

Cameron Iizuka
Another alternative study idea would be to make memes related to the class content and post them to your class group chats.