Midterms – The time when my house is the cleanest! (aka “How to study and not get burned out”)

It’s that time of the quarter.  Midterms are upon us.  When it comes to studying for midterms, any, and I do mean any task seems better than studying.    Clean the house, check.  Work on taxes, check.  Laundry, check.

Anyways, here’s a few tips on how I manage to focus on studying and not get completed burned out:

  • Set a timer.  I set the timer on the microwave for 90 minutes.  I’d study for 90 minutes, break for 30-45, then study again.
  • Find a room with minimal distractions and leave your material out.  You can sit down and study without spending time getting books/computer/notes out.
  • Use break times for Facebook/Pinterest/TV.  I would leave my phone in another room when studying.
  • Explain concepts to other people.  Some of the bigger topics, I’d try to explain them to my husband and give examples related to what he does.
  • If you have multiple exams, focus on the harder of the two, but do not neglect one exam altogether.
  • Find a study group.  Some people prefer to study in groups because each person picks up different information during a class and can help explain different topics.
  •  Stay positive.  Going into an exam with a positive attitude makes a big difference.

Good luck with midterms!

Supplying Time for Demanding Exams

Countdown: 2 days until our first economics exam. I can’t believe we are over half way through the quarter! For all my classmates that could use an extra econ “lesson” check out this video.

Tonight was the review night for our first exam and here are my top three takeaways:

1. I have some more studying to do.

2. Our professors are really accessible. It struck me as I walked in to our review that Professor Campbell had been there since 4:00 PM for back-to-back sessions. This meant that he volunteered to be in Gerlach from 4:00 PM to about 9:00 PM on a Sunday, answering student questions and preparing us for Tuesday’s test. I’m not sure how many school’s have professors this dedicated to the success of their students or this willing to give up their personal free time to help. The accessibility of professors is just another advantage to the Fisher experience!

3. My classmates are ready and willing to learn. I am incredibly impressed with how much effort everyone puts into their own success. We had one of the largest classrooms reserved for an optional review session on a Sunday evening, and we easily filled the room! For those considering Fisher for their MBA experience, should you choose to attend, you will be studying among the best! Not only are classmates ready to learn, they support their peers and are committed to the collective success of our class as a whole.

Well, time to get back to studying. Good luck to my classmates on the midterm week ahead!

“Is it the fingers or the brain that you’re teaching a lesson?”

After a couple of weeks of committing most of my time to trying to get interviews for internships, going to info sessions, and generally neglecting my school work, I made a conscious decision to spend more time focused on catching up on reading assignments.  Now when it comes to studying, I’ve found there are two groups of people; those who study with music, and those who study without.

I myself am a huge music fan.  I have a collection that is very eclectic.  Some might call it snobbish, but I really try to give all genres of music a fair listen and for various reasons, I generally don’t listen to many top 40 artists.

When it comes to studying, I always have music playing.  I only have two rules for what I listen to when I’m studying.  It either has to be instrumental, or if it has lyrics, it must be something to which I have not learned the words.  If I know what the artist is singing, it takes my focus off the assignment.  That is really the whole reason I like listening to music, it keeps other noises out so I can pay more attention to what I’m reading.

All that leads me to the point of this post.  I wanted to list some of the music that I listen to the most when doing homework.  So in no particular order, here is a list of a few artists I’ve been listening to lately.

The Budos Band – The Budos Band II

The Budos Band II

This album is surprisingly one of my favorites of the past few months and has translated well in my study habits.  I never heard of this band before they received decent reviews on Metacritic.com.  There is very little variation throughout the record. The entire album sounds like 1970’s movie and TV show themes, or an album made to be sampled by J-Dilla or Danger Mouse.  A lot of horns, funk style bass lines, and great energy for studying.  It’s uptempo enough to keep you awake through the occasionally boring reading assignment.

Cocteau Twins

Cocteau Twins

A friend of mine tried to get me into this group years ago but it was never something that I liked much.  I ended up with their discography thanks to him, but it just sat there for a long time.  One day a couple of weeks ago they popped up in iTunes as I was studying and it was a great combination of non-lyrical vocals and spacey synthesizers.  It was excellent background music and has been making a regular appearance in my educational playlist.



Another band which I was far behind some of my friends on.  I’ve only just recently reached back in their catalog.  Until a few months ago, the only DEVO I knew was, like most other people, ‘Whip It’.  Since I don’t know most of the lyrics yet, it still fits my criteria for good study music.  The post-punk/pre-new wave sound is great for a little energy after more mellow music, which most instrumental stuff tends to be.

Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

It’s not because he made an album named for my home State.  I have been a fan of his since his first album.  I haven’t gotten his newest record but I’ve heard nothing but good things and look forward to hearing it.  I love his songwriting and the instrumentation that he uses.  I broke my own rule here though because I know the lyrics to his songs, but his music is so conducive to an afternoon of studying that I had to include it on the list.

So that is just a sample of the kind of music that I’ve found helps me get through a Sunday afternoon of studying.  There is a ton of other music that cycles in and out of my playlist, but these seem to be the regulars lately.

So if you are reading this and, like me, you enjoy music while you study, feel free to share your favorites in a quick comment.  I would be interested to see what others listen to while studying.