So with the semesters end, finals week is steadily approaching. Around this time, the campus becomes a ghost town; 24-hour quiet hours are in effect for almost every resident hall, and the library becomes a temporary home for those looking to make the final push for better grades. For those who aren’t prepared, finals week can seem more like hell week with the overbearing load of final projects, papers, and exams.
For me, preparing for finals begins with my study area. Being someone who enjoys watching a room and multitasking, I tend to stay away from studying in my room to get more out of my schoolwork. The best thing I’ve found that works for me is finding a quiet area you usually don’t go to, but feel comfortable in. This place could be anywhere you see fit such as the calmest spot of the library or campus center.
After you have your area claimed and you’re ready to begin the trek of thick textbooks and endless notes and doodles, there should be some organization. The more organized your work is, the less time that’s spent looking for lost handouts and crumbled up loose-leaf papers.
A friend who is double majoring in two totally different fields has a notebook where she lists every project, paper, presentation, and final exam date that has to get done before she goes home for Winter Break. From there she can estimate what day she wants to get that particular item done and leaves a day towards the end of the week open for all the things she couldn’t get done during the week. This leaves her weekends open to be enjoyed.
Last but not least, taking occasional breaks is important when studying for finals. Rushing or plowing through any work or studying may result in excessive cramming and though it may seem like it saves time, it really mashes everything you’ve learned together. So when you’re taking a chemistry exam and can’t help but think about whom the president was during the Cuban missile crisis, you’re in some trouble. Taking a break from time to time and resting your brain with something that entertains you helps relieve the stress placed upon yourself about having to retain all this information.
With all these techniques, the best thing to do is to keep focused. The worst distracter is you. So keep yourself committed to the work you’re reviewing. And keep in mind in what ways what your reviewing can show up on your final exam and if it’s worth highlighting for remembering later on.
Good luck and I’ll see you in the library!