November 29, 2017
Writer: IT Communications Writer

As finals approach, your stress level and caffeine intake increase. We understand the pressure that doing well on finals can place on everyone's shoulders, so this week we would like to help remove some of that weight by providing some tips on maximizing your technology when preparing for finals.

Reduce eyestrain by monitoring the brightness of your screens. When those late-night study sessions turn into all-nighters, it's important to remember to change the brightness on your computer screen, or turn a lamp on. This will reduce the amount of strain brightly-lit technology screens can put on your eyes.

Play some music to help you focus. Music can help you keep up your motivation and energy. Using headphones, or even just a speaker, can also help you to drown out distracting sounds.

However, music can sometimes be a distraction in and of itself. The advice you'll hear often is that classical music helps boost your brain. While that is true, after several hours of class, work, and studying, you might be looking for something a little more upbeat. If that's the case, any kind of upbeat-sounding instrumental music can help you keep your train of thought. (I promise that there are upbeat piano songs, and Spotify has an awesome selection.)

Use on-campus technology resources. Have a final presentation? The Presentation Practice Center can help you prepare by recording your presentation and giving you pointers to help you improve. Study better in groups? The library has group study areas where you can all plug in laptops, write on whiteboards, and work together on a project - or even just study together. Need help in a class? Schedule a tutor online and they can help you with any class you need, for free. You can schedule one on the Tutoring Center website. Need help with your computer so you can use it to study? Contact the BSC at (208) 496-1411 and they can help you out or you can visit the IT website.

Use I-Learn to your advantage. Many professors will keep class resources, assignments, and other materials on I-Learn where you can access them for studying. You can also go back and look at what grades you got on your assignments throughout the semester so you can tell what material you mastered and what material you struggled with. This will help you to know what you need to focus on the most while studying.

Use file-sharing programs to collaborate. Share documents using GoogleDocs or Microsoft OneDrive. Gather up a few trusty classmates and take notes on the same document so you can share each other's knowledge. If there's anything you missed, someone else may have caught it, or vice versa!

I do this with a few of my friends throughout the semester, and then we have notes from class that we can refer to in case one of us wasn't there or took something different from the lesson. We also do this when finals get close. We start a document of all the things we're studying, add new topics, and contribute to the topics others added.

Technology is a huge blessing that can help you enormously while you study. So while you're on your third caffeinated beverage of the night and you're ready to give up on math as a whole, be sure to use some of these tips and resources.