Final Exam Survival Kit
By Alicia Harris
It’s about that time again. You find yourself spending endless hours in the library, all of your income on coffee, and maybe sneaking in a tear or two. That’s right, it’s finals week! This time period is the epitome of “bittersweet”. You can see summer right around the corner, but you’re stuck in traffic trying to get there. Here are five ways to power through your last week and successfully find yourself at the end of your destination – summer!
Understand your learning style
Figure out your favorite studying tools. How do you learn best? Is it by reading over PowerPoint slides, watching lecture videos or turning your notes into a study guide? Understanding whether you are a visual, auditory, or tactile learner will help you to create material that will still be effective during those late hours in the lab.
Show up to office hours
“There’s no such thing as a stupid question” is often quoted by teachers everywhere. Now is not the time to be shy. If you don’t understand the material being covered on the exam, ask the expert. Take full advantage of your professor’s office hours, however, do not show up empty handed. Prepare a list of questions ahead of time to ensure that you do not forget any important topics that you are having trouble with. Most of the time, the professor is the one to prepare the exam. Therefore, he or she will know exactly what will be covered. Knowing this information will help you shorten your study time by being able to focus purely on the relevant topics in each chapter.
Many students make the mistake of spending 24 hours with their head in the book. Yes, it is important to dedicate an adequate amount of time to your studies, however, it is equally important to know when to take a break. Despite the countless hours you spend studying, after a certain amount of time, your brain stops functioning at 100% and slowly lags off. Be conscious of when this happens and allow yourself to catch a breather. Whether that means stepping away for an hour to catch up on the Kardashians, or doing some squats at the gym, know how to refuel your mind and body in order to study and perform at your maximum.
Avoid the all-nighter
Before the big day you may be tempted to grab a couple Red Bulls and power through the night. However, sleep deprivation will prove to be more of a hindrance than help. A 2010 Harvard study suggested that dreaming helps to reorganize recently learned material, which strengthens performance and improves memory. This means go to sleep! You will have a better chance of retaining the information and also being able to recall it when it’s time to put pen to paper.
Walk in with confidence
You have spent the past couple of weeks putting in the work and now it is time to step up to the plate. Avoid test-taker anxiety by taking a deep breath before flipping over your exam. Know that your countless hours of studying will not go to waste. All of the information and answers are right inside of your head! Take the time to reflect on each question and thoroughly understand what is being asked. Avoid second guessing yourself when writing your answers. Usually your first choice is the right one, so try not to overthink it. Be confident in your ability to show up and show out!