It remains to be seen whether December 21st will in fact be a day of apocalyptic-like events, or just another Friday (my bet’s on the latter). But contrary to what many students seem to think as a different sort of “end” approaches, it can be said with certainty that finals week will not be the end of the world. While the mystery of what’s on the test will have to wait until that fateful day, your academic “life as you know it” will be secure with the right preparation and balance. On the other hand, if you’re just now starting your preparations for a December 21st apocalypse it’s probably too late anyway, take it easy. In the meantime, take a look at these student “survival tips” for before, during, and after finals:
Well what’d you expect? If studying isn’t already on the forefront of your mind, now’s the time to put it there. Start blocking your study schedule and prioritizing classes/study material as a first step. Then, pick where you study best and start getting acquainted with the spot – it’ll be your second home for the next week or so when you’re not taking a study break, eating, or sleeping (and even then…). Check out some helpful tips for studying here.
Though stressing over finals, whether you like it or not, will be the number one thing occupying your mind during exams, the second thing, which you can control, should be mitigating that stress as much as possible. The three best ways of doing this are to plan, stay healthy, and take wise breaks. In planning, keep your days busy from the time you get up until the time you go to bed, including planned breaks that are “busy” or in some way productive. Doing this will prevent periods of sluggishness and keep your mind sharp and less susceptible to stress. For taking care of your mind and body, it is important to maintain a normal and healthy eating schedule. Eating small and often is one way to keep the mind active and less likely to “overload”, as well as eating extra fruits, veggies, and fish, which have Omega3’s (your brain’s favorite). Finally, your study breaks, which can be tied into everything else. Plan for breaks that both fill in the space between studying to keep you busy, as well as those that keep you healthy and performing well, such as exercise, power naps, small meals, or chores/errands with friends or roommates.
After: learn from your mistakes
More often than not, students finish their last final and immediately go into vacation mode, tossing out notes and letting the semester drift slowly into the past. While tempting, this strategy sets students up to forget much of the information they just spent months learning, and more consequentially they forget the study mistakes and successes that come with a given finals week. Once your tests are over, make a few notes to yourself about what you did well and what you need to work on. Don’t kid yourself, you know it’ll be final’s week again before you know it, and being able to remember how you’ve fared during previous finals will give you an invaluable advantage. Also keep your old notes in a binder and organize computer documents into a “Fall 2012” folder, or something of the like. You don’t want all that effort to go to waste.
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