Avoid finals cram with smart planning
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 20:04
Well, my fellow Eagles: Finals are upon us. What comes with them is the stress of cramming a semester’s worth of material into your brain within a 24-hour period. You might not have had to do this had you gone to class, taken notes and did homework when you were given the opportunity. I know these words feel harsh, but I promise I have your best intentions at heart. Let’s just say this will hurt me worse than it hurts you.
How do you avoid the late night, illegal-Adderall-fueled study sessions? Learn the first time around. Did you know that participating in conversations during class time, in online discussion boards and through homework and writing assignments will actually solidify the course information into your brain?
I don’t know if this has been verified by research, but I believe it’s true. Ask the people in your classes that seem to always be getting As how they do it and they will say because they do what is expected of them by the professors. That’s why it’s vital that you get complete and correct information, which is why your professors have been studying in their field a lot longer than you.
I promise that no matter how right you know you are and how stupid you think your professor and the authors of the books are, in the end it will be known the other way around by your classmates who do the assignments. If professors were really as stupid as some of us may think, don’t you think it stands true that the university would have offered us their jobs? Do the work to see the results.
If you are asking yourself right now how can you know everything that might be on your test if you have so many of these readings, textbooks, and previous assignments, relax and breath. If you showed up to class (hopefully on time) and took a few notes, I bet you know exactly what will be on the test if your professor didn’t come right out and say, “this will be on your test.”
Read over your notes. Look for things written in caps, or bolded and underlined, or have stars and asterisks beside. They are important. No need to go back and read 300 pages of handouts. And professors, a quick sidebar: If you didn’t teach your students about it, you shouldn’t expect them to answer questions about it, so don’t make your test a mystery.
What else can you do to get a decent, dare I say good, grade on your final exam? How about don’t party the night before? It’s tempting to hang out with friends and call it “de-stressing” while throwing a few back and dancing until 1 a.m., but it’s not a wise idea.
You may be saying, “I’m young; I can do this.” Again, not a good idea. Your body and brain need rest in order for you to think clearly. Trying to take an exam that may be a significant portion of your grade with a thumping hangover or feet that are hurting is never a good idea.
If you want to de-stress before your exam, do it wisely. Get in bed at a decent time and get up earlier than 10 minutes before your class so your brain has time to get going. Everything is slow first thing in the morning, even you young whipper snappers.
Lastly, stay calm. Waking up in a panic on the day of the exam will send you into a whirlwind that may hurt you in the long run. People who panic are more likely to make mistakes, second guess themselves and do poorly on everything, tests included. If you have gone to classes, did your assignments and looked over your notes, you should do fine. If you steered clear of the prescription drugs that help ADHD sufferers focus, avoided late-night, before-the-test rendezvous and slept well, you should be OK.
Placing undue stress on yourself to perform at higher levels when you don’t put forth the effort all semester long can cause significant issues with your health and your happiness, and whether you believe it or not, everyone around you, too. When you try so hard at the last minute to accomplish what has now become impossible, you in fact become impossible to be around.
The negativity produced from stressing so hard this close to finals can spread like wildfire. If you follow no advice I have given thus far, remember this gem of wisdom: Only you can prevent wildfires.