Tips for Acing Those Finals

Monday, December 7, 2015

December is a very merry month filled with a genuine happy feeling that blows through the cool air. It seems like the most perfect month of the whole year... until finals week comes around (*cue booing*).

As I wrap up my first semester in college, I find myself extremely anxious and nervous for what this week will hold. Luckily, I don't take most of my final exams until next week and this is just more of a study week for me. However, others are not as blessed to have the opportunity to buckle down in the library with their Starbucks espressos every day for almost a whole extra week. Seeing how many people are stressed over their exams makes me feel sad, thus I have decided to present my tips for acing those finals this semester (and every one after that)!

(Shout out to my roommate Kaulene at Napa Valley Sunshine for having such a beautiful desk that I couldn't resist using for this post's picture.)

1. Have a schedule laid out.
If you plan your time prior to your exams out ahead of time, you will know when and how much time you have to prepare yourself and you can also sort out which of your classes gets which time/day available to you. This will leave you a lot less stressed and provide you with an idea of when is the best time to do what during the time you have.

2. Use study guides and attend any review sessions.
A majority of my professors provide collective study guides for big exams such as the mid-term and final. I would hope everyone has professors that do this as well or at least provide the topics they will be incorporating into the questions on the exams, but if not then try to touch base with your professors through email or office hours and get an idea of what the exam will consist of/be like. In addition, if your professors offer any review sessions, GO. I know they can be lengthy and boring and involve putting in extra time on your part, but these sessions may contain valuable information about the exam and really help you understand concepts you may still be having trouble with. I attended one two hour session this morning and I'm going to be attending another 3 hour session later - all it takes is some motivation to get yourself up and out!

3. Find your "zone".
For many people, the zone they feel the most focused in is their school's library or their own dorm/apartment room. If you are in a place where you know you can be kept from distractions and stay concentrated on what you need to do as well as feel comfortable, that is your zone of where you should study. Feel free to turn on some music or do anything that will help you study better - a zone does not technically have to be quiet, it just has to be a place with an atmosphere that you know you will get things done in.

4. Take breaks and be aware of how you feel.
I cannot stress how important it is to give yourself some free time to just take a deep breath and do something that relaxes you for a few minutes, whether that's watching one episode of your favorite television show or simply scrolling through social media networks on your phone. Also, be aware of how you feel - make sure there are snacks nearby in case you get hungry, water to keep you awake and hydrated, etc. Even though you are trying to help your brain by cramming new knowledge into it, you still need to take good care of yourself in order to help it focus.

5. Be prepared.
Do what you feel works best for you in order to pass. Make a million flash cards, highlight entire pages, write down every definition in the textbook; nothing is too extreme if you know it is going to benefit you! In the end, you will feel prepared if you study your way. Know when everything is going to happen as well and what you will need; I am required to pick up my own scan trons prior to my tests at my school. Don't be that person scrambling over studying and your exams because you don't know when they are (refer back to tip #1 about scheduling).

Good luck to everyone on their finals these next few days!
Do you have any finals tips and tricks?

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