Finals week, or as I like to call it: “hell week”, is the time of all-nighters, poor dietary choices, and spiked stress levels. Each year I watch the library slowly reach full capacity, something that would have been a rarity earlier in the year.
Everyone has hopes of cramming the 20 chapters of information in their minds they may or may not have read when it was previously assigned. The only real hope to surviving this treacherous grade-altering marathon is strategy.
According to SSU’s rules and regulations, for one to be considered a full time student they must be taking 12 to 16 units. It is practically impossible to expect a student to recall every speck of knowledge that has been crammed into their minds during a semester. The expectations of teachers have only increased as education has evolved over the years.
This year I have five classes and a lot of chapters to cover in a short period of time. Personally, I have found the first step of preparation for these exams is to finalize your finals week schedule.
I started by making a list of all my classes and what times their final examination will be given. This allows me to prioritize what information needs to be covered sooner rather than later.
Also, study groups are very beneficial. By studying in groups, everyone can help each other recall information and conversing with peers is a great tool for understanding difficult concepts.
Although, beware of study groups turning into socializing parties. I know it can be tempting to want to spend one’s last moments with friends we will not see for the whole break. Remember, friends will return to our lives in the spring semester and now is the time to buckle down and metaphorically punch those finals in the face.
I have found that flashcards are a good friend to have. While they may be tedious to make they really help to break down information rather than staring at a wordy textbook page. Listening to wordless music can also be very helpful, allowing your body to settle into a rhythm while studying.
While staying up all hours of the night and becoming a slave to the library can be tempting when one’s grade is on the line, rest is very important. If one’s brain is deprived of the sleep it needs, any information studied will not be stored properly.
In addition, eating healthy and staying hydrated is critical when studying for final exams; try replacing that sugar-filled beverage with a bottle of water.
Also, I’ve found that giving yourself mental breaks can be a good way to allow large amounts of information to settle into your mind.
Sometimes after a few hours of studying I like to go for a walk or listen to some music. A few of my friends have reported that taking a 30 minute break at the gym allows them to release some endorphins limiting the “I am going to fail this test” depression feeling.
Above all else, I always find it important to accept your best work. When the test is placed on my desk I have to remember I did all I could to prepare and regardless of the grade I receive, I gave my best effort.
May the odds be ever in our favor.