Passing the Test: Tips for Finals Week

December 11, 2013

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It’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us and the semester is ending, which means it can be a pretty crazy busy time of year for students. Not only are you getting ready to go home, and doing some holiday shopping, but you’re cramming for finals.

Here are a few tips to lessen the stress as you close out the semester.

Take Stock

For starters, see where you might be behind and what challenges lie ahead. Grab your calendar and write down exam dates, deadlines for assignments and anything else that you need to remember. An Excel spreadsheet can work wonders here. You can make a table to see what’s due and when. Any extracurricular activities can go on here as well, such as anything you need to do for a club or organization that you belong to. This way you can get a better, more realistic view of where you are and how you can get all of it done in a way that’s best for you.

Prioritize midterm exam calendar

Consider where you should focus your efforts. If studying all night for a class will raise your grade from a B to a B+, but studying all night for another class will keep you from flunking…it might be too late to be honest, but that’s beside the point. You want to put all your attention into the one thing that demands it the most. Do the most difficult work first, and at the time of day when you’re at your best (read: awake). Break the material into manageable pieces. If you have an exam coming up, study one topic each morning, then review it all just before the test. This prevents those aforementioned all night cramming sessions. Success or failure depends on your approach.

Eliminate Distractions

And by distractions, we mean, stop snapchatting, texting, or announcing to your social networks every 10 minutes how awful studying is. In order to prioritize and stick to your schedule above, you need to eliminate temptations and all distractions. This means keeping your cell phone off and check your e-mail only once a day. Let your friends know you need to hibernate for now. Don’t worry, chances are they are doing the exact same thing. Remember, this is crunch time, and you’ll be home sipping eggnog and eating cookies before you know it. And you can definitely snapchat that.

Ask for Helpgroup study for success

You have not volunteered as Tribute. If things are getting overwhelming you can ask for help without the need of a sponsor. Talk to a school counselor, or better yet, speak with your professors. The secret to getting their help is to first communicate. Let them know where you are right now and what you need to finish. If it’s a paper you’re stuck on, show them what you’ve written so far. If a lecture has you confused, write out the parts you understood so they can fill in the blanks. If you’re studying for a test, outline what you’ve been focused on to make sure you and the professor are on the same page. And of course, there are your classmates. Study groups can be very helpful. You may learn that extra quotes and citations can boost your grade on a paper, or that the lecture notes are more useful than the homework when studying for a test. Plus, there’s just something about figuring things out together.

The end of the semester can be a very stressful time but it doesn’t need to be panic time. By organizing and prioritizing you can give yourself the best possible chance for success. In the end, you want to make the grade, make it count, and then enjoy your well-deserved holiday break. And that’s something you absolutely deserve.

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