The end of the semester is quickly approaching and that means Finals Week is right around the corner for most college students. In most cases Finals week is a very stressful time for students as many take cumulative exams worth a large percentage of their grade. However, I am a firm believe that Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. In a poll offered earlier this week on my blog 35% of those who responded said they prepared for finals by completing study guides in study groups. But, is this the most effective way to maximize your time, productivity and grade? Don’t panic, I will provide a list of 5 ways to survive Finals week, end the semester on a high note and enjoy summer vacation.
1. Get Rest!!
Most students have the tendency to pull an all-nigher and cram until their early morning exam. This is the most ineffective way to prepare for an exam. Your brain can only absorb so much at one time. Not only are you overloading your brain but you’re depriving your body of much needed rest affecting your overall performance of the test. Staying up all-night to study for an exam is actually counteractive as opposed to proactive. It’s better to study in small increments of time to give your brain a relaxer and opportunity to absorb the information so that you’re able to readily recall the things you’ve studied when exam time comes around.
2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
There is no way you can give each exam or project the same time and attention. It’s important to prioritize. You have to sit down and look at which final exams or projects are worth the highest percentage of your grades. Are there classes that you’re performing more strongly in? What subjects do you struggle with and need to give more attention? Where do you stand grade wise? It’s important to know where you stand before beginning preparations for Finals week. Making a daily agenda and conceptualizing these ideas on paper are more effective as well.
This one should go without saying but prepare. How can you prepare? Usually there are study guides offered, complete those study guides. This can be done in a group setting, however personally you need to determine which method works best for you. If there are things you don’t understand go to tutoring, speak with your teacher in office hours. Review not read chapters because you should have been keeping up with required readings throughout the semester. Review previous exams for common mistakes you might have made or key concepts and ideas that need clarification if the Final exam is cumulative.
4. Take study breaks…yes BREAKS
Finals week is not a time to panic or freak out and forget all the time management and stress relievers in previous posts. It’s important to incorporate your normal daily routines into exam preparation. Take walks, do yoga, take naps, peruse your favorite social networking sites. However study breaks should be just that…..a break it should last no more than 15 minutes. It’s an opportunity for you to relax, maintain your composure and give your brain a breather. But it’s not long enough for you to forget the things you have studied and have to keep starting over like you would have to do taking two and three hour breaks.
5. Be ON TIME!!
From personal experience I recommend setting more than one alarm. I know everyone likes to use their cell phone for everything however I think it’s good to have a wall alarm clock as well. There is nothing worse than waking up late, arriving late to an exam or even missing an exam. Arriving late to an exam increases overall anxiety. You will be so wound up from nerves you will not feel comfortable and be able to focus as well. Then comes the issue of making up the time you missed from being late, you begin rushing and making careless mistakes to finish on time. It’s best to arrive 10-15 minutes before the exam to find your seat, get comfortable, settled and mentally in the mindset to give your peak performance.
Also, when taking the exam don’t look around at others to see how slowly or quickly other peers are pacing themselves. Don’t be alarmed by how quickly the first student turns in the exam. Focus on your work and your exam and you’ll be fine!
Finally, when you leave the room be done with the exam, don’t stress yourself worrying about what answers you checked or questions that may be incorrect. The exam is over and focusing on what has been done will take attention away from your next exam.