Student survival guide: prepping for finals
It is the day of the final exam, and you have not started studying. At this point, the outlook is bleak, but it does not have to be this way.
If you ask any college student how they are doing during finals week, there is a chance they will say they are stressed out beyond belief or that they just cannot do it anymore. No matter how you look at it, final exams are awful, but they can be less terrible if you know how to prepare yourself.
Most of the time professors will give you an outline of what to expect on your final exam or, if it is a project or presentation, they will give it to you a weeks or even a month in advance. So why wait until the night before? If you can get started studying even a week prior, at least you can get everything you need to study together to avoid stressing out later.
Everyone has their own studying methods, but I’ve always found that using apps like Quizlet or making flashcards is one of the best ways to prepare. If you make 100 flashcards or just 10, it is a great way to keep yourself organized. Using the “learn” option on Quizlet is great because it forces you to keep going until you have everything memorized.
Another studying challenge that is one of the hardest to overcome are distractions. Everyone is different, but it is far easier to prepare yourself when you are in an environment you can focus in. I always tell myself, “Never study anywhere you can fall asleep.” Of course, some people can fall asleep anywhere, but it is much easier to doze off when you are studying in bed.
Personally, I have found that the best place to study is the library, but even there, it is not lacking distractions. The biggest distraction of them all, is my phone. It is always what keeps me from studying done. It is best to just put it away in my backpack, just flipping it over is not enough. It is best to keep it out of sight.
Once I finally overcome distractions, the next issue is finding a way to stay focused. I would like to think that I could sit for five hours and cram all the information into my brain in one sitting, but it just is not realistic. I use timers to help pace myself so I do not get overwhelmed.
Studying methods like the “Pomodoro Technique,” created by Francisco Cirillo, where you study in 25-minute intervals and take short breaks in between, are a great way to create balance and keep stress levels to a minimum.
When you are prepared for your final exams, there is no need to overload your body with energy drinks to stay up late the night before the exam to put together a sloppy last-minute presentation. There will not be any more staring at your textbook and wanting to cry. Instead, it will be a good night of sleep and a feeling of confidence knowing you have made your way through another year.