It’s the week after Thanksgiving again, and only a week away from the end of the semester, and that word is being spoken everywhere you turn –”finals.” Every year they seem to creep closer and closer without warning, but this year, I will give you some tips that have helped me succeed that week of studying, testing, and exhaustion.
First, don’t panic. I remember as a freshman getting ready to take my first final: American Heritage. I can hear the sympathetic sighs now; yes, American Heritage was a hard class, namely because of the test questions and rigorous thinking it required. Initially I started to panic as I thought of this test, but with some perspective from other students and my parents, I realized that this final was just like any other test I had taken for the class during the semester. As long as I took the time to study the necessary material, review past notes, and have others quiz me, I knew that I would be okay. Throughout college, I have kept that perspective of, “It’s okay if I get an average grade, as long as a I pass and give my best effort.” This outlook has helped me to face finals with poise and relative calmness.
Another way to get ready for those finals is to find a place and time where you will not be distracted and be dedicated to studying. For me, it was on the second floor of the Harold B. Lee library in the Periodicals section in the morning and early afternoon. My mind is most alert in the morning, so getting to the library early was crucial for my studying success. Also, I loved having a large open space to work in, windows to look out of, and no cell service to distract me. Others may study best at home or in the “No Shh” zone of the library; it really doesn’t matter, as long as you feel that your time is being used well.
Finally, and probably most important, know your limits. For classes that I struggled with, like math, I thought that if I kept studying, I would remember everything be more prepared. Experience taught me otherwise. Those finals that I did better in were those that I set times to have breaks and leave the material for a while. These breaks were short, sometimes just a lunch break, or a quick chat with a friend, but they kept me rejuvenated and more alert for the next study session. Decide what types of breaks are best for you. I would advise that they only last for 15-30 minutes because for me I am less motivated to study the same material if I haven’t looked at it for over a half-hour.
This is what I know helps me. What helps you prepare for finals?
Final advice: No matter where you study, how long you review, or what types of breaks you take, know that this whole semester has been there for your benefit to prepare you to succeed. Utilize the great study habits you have been perfecting throughout the semester, and use them to show those finals who really is the boss. Good luck!!