Josie’s Survival Guide: Finals
By: Josie Clemens
Spring season has finally returned to the Presentation campus as the 2018 spring semester comes to an end. Instead of being able to enjoy the fresh air, students have been cramming to finish projects, packing boxes upon boxes of clothes and personal belongings, booking flights home for the summer, and checking their grades every day to see how well they must do on the final exams to pass with decent grades.
I have taken countless exams, tests, and quizzes throughout my educational experience, and I understand the looming feeling of worry and anxiety weeks before taking the biggest exam of the entire semester. In some instances, this exam can determine whether a student passes the class or not. Temptations to give up and not even try on this final test are inevitable. However, I have six simple study tips that will help any student prepare for their college finals.
- Start early
Procrastination has been many students’ major flaw in studying habits. I have fallen victim to this terrible behavior before. Waiting until the last minute to study for a large test leads to late nights and early mornings causing exhaustion and stress.
“Don’t wait until the last minute! It’s best to study at least a week before your test so you can study in chunks and not overload your brain with information,” senior Tatiana Navarro claims.
Trying to cram information in a small amount of time is not efficient and will cause more harm than good. I suggest starting a week or more in advance. This will also alleviate any unnecessary pressure and worry and make the learning atmosphere more suitable for studying.
- Create a schedule
The best method to starting early is to create a study schedule. There are two methods to use when planning ahead for exams. The first method involves having a hard copy written in either a planner or printed on a calendar template. Seeing a physical form of the schedule may influence the student to maintain the study routine.
The second method is for the individuals who prefer an electronic form. The benefits of placing the schedule on either a computer calendar or cell phone application is the easy access to schedule anytime and anywhere. The application on the cellular device will also be able to send the individual constant reminders, which may help him or her maintain a healthy study habit.
The downfall to having the plan on an electronic device is the ability to dismiss it easily. Without receiving the notifications, it would be easy and tempting to push the schedule to the side and forget about it completely.
- Maintain health
Another tip when preparing for finals is to maintain a healthy routine. Hopefully, planning ahead, setting a schedule, and starting early will eliminate the late nights cramming for finals. However, the overload of other projects and assignments may make it hard to resist staying up late and waking up early to make sure you maintain acceptable grades.
“Although you are overwhelmed with studying, it is important to make sure you get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and eat brain foods, so you can think clearly while studying,” freshman Haylie Vallery added.
Make sure to stay hydrated, eat healthy snacks, and rest. Rather than buying vending machine snacks, it would be best to have healthy food available. Taking energy drinks and overloading on coffee to stay awake and fight exhaustion may seem like the perfect idea, but also be aware of the amount of water consumed. Being healthy will decrease the chances of catching any illnesses and will positively increase brain stimulation during the exam.
- Prioritize exams
More often than not, one class causes more difficulty for a student more than the other classes. Prioritizing exams allows a student to focus on the areas that are causing trouble. This does not mean to forget about the easier courses.
Instead, when creating a study schedule, plan for more time on the harder classes. Also, space out the time for the harder classes by separating it by studying for the easier classes in between. This alleviates the brain from exhaustion and excess pressure.
- Find what works best for you
Everyone has their own unique way of studying. Someone may do better studying in the mornings while others may do better studying at night. Create a plan according to the preferred learning styles in an environment that stimulates the brain in a beneficial way such as a library or in a study room away from distractions. If an individual does not know exactly what works best for him or her, I would suggest trying out different methods until finding the right one that is the most effective and stick to that to create a steadfast study habit.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help
The final tip that I have is to not be afraid to ask a professor or another student to help prepare for the exam. Asking a student who has previously taken the course would be ideal because they can provide information on the format of the test and exam and offer example questions. Also, other students are more relatable and understand the current process of taking exams.
Asking the course professor for additional guidance would be helpful as well because they can offer instruction suitable to an individual’s needs and understanding. Learning in a classroom environment remains more generic than individual learning sessions. The thought of asking someone for help may seem intimidating, but every professor wants what is best for the students and will appreciate someone coming in and asking for more help.
Good luck on the exams and have a great summer vacation!