Well, here we are again. In a couple weeks you’ll be enjoying a well-deserved and much-anticipated break from the semester, but there’s something standing between you and salvation: a week-long gauntlet of final exams.
It’s a stressful week, the most stressful week of the year for some. All your classes are coming to a close. Your finals are the final barrier between you and some time off, and for some it’s the end of college and the start of a career. So here are some tips to help you prepare for that last step in finishing your classes.
- Know your schedule – When are finals? You’ve been following a routine all semester, and finals week shakes things up by doubling the class time or changing up the order just to add to the chaos. Be sure you know when you’re supposed to take them. Luckily with online and proctored exams, online students are more in control of the schedule. As your exam schedule becomes set, whether you get to make it or not, take the time to plan how you are going to study for each one. Scheduling time for each test is an important first step to covering all the information. If you have some tests early in the week, and others later, you can prioritize and study for each in the order you will take them, giving each subject its own study time.
- Eliminate distractions – Sure, this one is a little obvious, but gaining momentum is key, and you have to start somewhere. Start small. All it takes it turning off the TV, or locking up your phone, and walking away from anything that doesn’t help you with test prep. Easy, right? Yes, it’s quiet, but don’t panic, you can do this. Eliminating distractions can be the hardest part of studying, but once you’ve done it, you can build momentum and save yourself time and stress.
- Change up your notes – Getting used to a rhythm can be a good thing. It helps you build momentum, and keep on schedule, but in this case, it can also create problems. Beware! You could be memorizing the order of the questions and answers. Test day isn’t the best time to figure out if that’s what you’ve done, so to be safe, it’s best to surprise yourself with a new order each time you run through your notes. Doing so will take away the repetitive order, and you’ll get the questions at random. If you can answer the question without any hints, you can answer it on the test. You can take it a step further and have a friend ask the questions a different way each time you run through them.
- Teach someone – Being able to teach someone a lesson requires knowing it yourself. You have to do at least a little bit of research, but you’ll know you’ve got it down when you can fully explain it to another person. Study with a classmate and go all out. Find a room with a marker board, draw diagrams, field questions, and when you’re done switch it up. Hearing the information you taught your classmate can give you a new perspective on what you’ve already learned.
- Sing it – Yep, sing it. Sure, it sounds weird, but nothing will help you remember information like a catchy song. Even more memorable is a clever parody of a catchy song. “Gangsta’s Paradise” is an iconic hip-hop some from the 90s, but once you hear “Amish Paradise,” you never quite hear the original the same again. So, channel your inner “Weird Al” Yankovic, and change the lyrics to one of your favorite songs. Or just start singing and see where it takes you. Got neighbors who don’t appreciate your talent? Jokes work just as well. Chemistry is much less intimidating if you turn it into a collection of puns. Anything to break up the tension, right?
Bonus. Extra Points – Well, just one extra point. There are tons of ways to get ready for finals, and maybe you have a method all your own. Whatever you do just understand that all it really takes is effort. It doesn’t really matter what you try, as long as you try, so do yourself a favor by putting in an effort. You’ll gain confidence, and your final exam stress will melt away. Just remember, once it’s over, you get a vacation from school. You can do this!