The most stressful time of the semester has arrived. The countdown to the finals is almost over and students are burying themselves in notes, flashcards and presentation slides. The only ray of hope is the month long winter vacation that gives students time to ready themselves for the spring semester.
Many people see finals in different perspectives: positive, negative and a few in between. They can be seen as the task before the end of another semester that leads students closer to graduation. They can be seen as the test that puts the last nail in your coffin. Whatever your perspective is, there are still many different ways to prepare for finals and to cope with stress, exhaustion and nerves.
A major problem many students have, which I am guilty of as well, is procrastinating on their studies. Trying to cram in all the information the night, hours or even minutes before your final can impact your grade significantly. It is always a good idea to begin to study a week or two before to refresh your memory.
Take 30 minutes a day to study old material as those minutes will begin to add up and help you in the long run. Use flash cards, join or create a study group, or even use online tools such as Quizlet to get those minutes or hours of studying you need. Cramming it all before the test can cause you to stress out and even cause you to crash and burn in exhaustion. The last thing that you want to happen is to walk into your exam sleep-deprived and a nervous wreck.
Resting during finals week enhances one’s learning experience. Taking a break from cracking down hard on studying is perfectly healthy if you manage your time with it wisely. Getting a good night’s sleep before an exam is a great and healthy thing for the mind and body. As you sleep, your mind may even work out or store problems and information you need. When you wake up, have a good breakfast, not something too heavy that will make you sluggish but something that will help you get the nutrition you need and the energy needed to think and do well on your exam.
During finals week, make a chart and set some goals. For example, if you study for at least five hours that week, you can treat yourself to maybe go out to eat, shop or see a movie. Hard work should be treated with rewards.
Now, the day before finals and the hours before can be stressful as well. Take some time to unwind a bit and do a little last minute studying on subjects you still have trouble understanding. Pump yourself up and tell yourself you will do great. Do not bring yourself down.
No matter your perspective or your test taking ability, putting forth the effort will help you in the long run and will definitely make the final stretch a great one.