Written by Elizabeth O’Kane, Gillian Lopez, Kristen Nelson and Serena Nguyen
Center for Career & Professional Advancement Student Employees
Question: “How are you going to prepare for all of your final exams for the last few weeks of school?”
Elizabeth O’Kane, Media Assistant
Wing it. Just kidding. Final exams are always stressful, but there is never a clear path to study for them. Even though you supposedly learned the material front to back all semester, this will not help you breakdown and identify the question. Yes, you need to know the fundamentals as a base, but this alone will not guarantee an A. Here are some tips to be mindful of when test taking:
1. Breakdown topics, NOT chapters.
Multiple chapters usually refer to common topics. Identify these common trends and group them together. Trust me, it will be easier to remember, because you are creating a cognitive file system.
2. No flashcards!
I used to always get stuck in the flash card rut. I would memorize the way I wrote the words or a fold in the flashcards. This did not help me learn the material, because I was looking for clues instead of reading the content. Get out of this rut! Look at a concept and physically write 1-2 paragraphs about it or verbally explain it to someone. If you can explain it, then you know what you are talking about.
3. Read every word.
Not every word in the textbook, every word of the exam question. Have a piece of scratch paper and rewrite the question. Writing the question out automatically puts you in the mindset for identifying what the question is really asking. Circle keywords and start writing notes about what you know about the topic. If it’s multiple choice, go back and start eliminating answers to better your chances. This does take time so only use this method on questions you are unsure about.
Have faith, get plenty of rest and you put yourself in a confident mindset!
Kristen Nelson, SSHA Career Consultant
My number one rule for the time leading up to finals is to stay balanced. It’s so easy to just shut down during finals week. The end is so close, and yet for some reason I can actually get lazier. Because of this, I try not to break my routine. It helps me stay on task, keep a good work ethic, and also keep the stress at bay. This means the week prior to and also on finals week, I still go to the gym, enjoy some time with friends, and make sure to get enough sleep. The only way I am able to stick to my routine is by making adjustments and managing my time well. So I might go workout for 30 minutes rather than an hour, or I might go home a little earlier from hanging with friends so that I can finish up an assignment. Another thing that helps me through finals week is staying positive. This year my motto for finals time is “Pedal to the Medal!” I am not giving up. I am pushing hard all the way through, because I know by giving my 100% effort I will feel my break is well deserved. Whatever your way of getting through finals is, positivity can always help. Happy finals Bobcats, and may the curve be ever in your favor!
Gillian Lopez, Management Career Consultant
When it comes to studying for final exams I like to do three things; create a study schedule, make time for study breaks, and form study groups.
Creating a study schedule is a great way to stay organized during finals week especially if you are studying for more than one cumulative exam. For example, my study schedule consists of the chapters I will focus on each day and the amount of time I will dedicate to each subject. Getting organized is an important part of prepping for final exams because it prevents procrastination and late night study crams!
In addition to my study schedule, I also like to include breaks in my day and week. It is not effective or healthy to study for 10 hours straight. In fact it is psychologically proven that your brain can only retain so much information within a given amount of time. I like to study throughout the day, but in between every hour I will take a 15-30 minute break before continuing my studies. This can include taking a walk outside, doing small exercises, watching an episode on Netflix, etc. Exercising is probably the best study break and stress reliever during finals week, not to mention all the positive endorphins that are released throughout the brain that can make you feel even more awake while studying!
Lastly, I like to study with a group. Usually the day before a final I work in a study group to test my knowledge and assist my peers. During our study groups we would quiz each other or review our class materials.
Studying for finals can be overwhelming at times, but getting organized, taking study breaks, and starting early will help prevent some stress and unnecessary panic!
Serena Nguyen, Media Assistant
This might sound crazy but we have less than two weeks of school left for this semester! I am always amazed how time passes by so quickly. It is crazy just to think about it!
I know that many students are already struggling with their classes and overwhelmed from group projects and final exams to study for. Although my mind is filling with many exciting events to do with my besties over winter break, school should always come first. In order to deal with my final week for this semester, I try to pace myself by creating a schedule for the next two weeks. In addition, I always remind myself to leave out the fun for later because after finals week, I will have plenty of time for fun. I know I should not be neglecting my study, because if I do, I will regret it once I receive my final grade at the end of the semester.
Good luck, Bobcats!
Do your best and ace that final with flying colors!