Regardless of it it is your first semester of college or your 10th it is always important to begin finals by spending some time analyzing how you will conquer them. Each semester of college brings a fresh start and every finals week gives you the opportunity to approach you last attempt at a semester with success with renewed motivation. Wether this is your first time taking college finals or you’re just looking for a refresher on how to do you best here is the list of all of some of my favorite ways to succeed.
Know Your Schedule
Every school runs their finals week a little differently. Some schools offer a reading week or dead week where no assignments can be given the week before exams start. Other schools offer a reading day or study day between the last day of classes and the first day of exams to allow students a day to get organized before they jump head first into testing. Regardless of how your college situates it’s exam schedule be sure you know it ahead of time. You never want to be in the library at 2am on Tuesday night and discover you have a final at 8am on Wednesday morning. Take the time to write out and know the times and dates of your exams as soon as possible.
Don’t Change Your Eating Patterns
While a lot of people suggest eating healthy the week of finals (and this is great) it isn’t feasible for everyone. Finals is a stressful time and you are likely going to have a lot less time than you would on a normal week if you are truly putting the time in to study. Instead try to not introduce new bad habits into your regular diet. When you are spending hours in the library it can be really tempting to spend finals week eating only ramen (quick) or ordering pizza every night (to spend off any remaining meal plan or flex dollars) but your body isn’t ready for the shock of such a major change in diet. The last thing you want is to feel sick or groggy because you put too much junk food into your body all at once. Keep with your normal moderation and remember that you can always binge on comfort food when the week is done.
Take Care of Your Mind
If you aren’t the kind of person to exercise regularly finals week isn’t the time to start, but it is the time to maintain your regular level of activity. When you change from your usual weekly schedule from walking around campus and hanging out with friends to sitting stationary in your apartment, dorm room, or the library studying your mind will get tired a lot faster than you are use to. Finals week will probably keep you from having the time to maintain your normal social calendar, but try to do one thing every day of finals week that resembles your daily schedule. Take a walk around campus with your friends, spend an hour watching tv, but do something to keep your body and your mind active so you don’t doze off too quickly when your studying. However when you do start to get too tired from studying don’t be afraid to go take a nap or fall asleep. Keeping your mind sharp is the most important aspect when it comes to retaining the information you are intaking.
Study in Intervals
Interval training is not only good for exercise but also for your brain. Instead of sitting down and cramming one subject at a time rotate through what you need to study in manageable increments of time. If you can only focus for 20 minutes do that and then take a short break. If you find that you need to study for an hour and a half between breaks to keep the momentum going do it. Study in increments of time that work for you and when you are ready to take a break do so and then move onto the next subject. By rotating information and taking breaks when your mind is ready for them you will retain the information better and keep from getting bored of the material.
Use Different Study Methods
If you have certain tools that you have used all semester that have worked keep using them. If not finals is your last ditch effort to change things up and improve your grade. Flashcard, flow charts, study guides, reviewing your old notes, teaching a friend, writing a song, and reviewing old material are all great places to start. Take advantages of the resources you have around you and try a new study technique or even just one you haven’t used in awhile. You will learn something new, create new paths in your brain, and make your studying a little more fun.
Dress Well, Test Well
When you wake up on exam day it is easy to let yourself fall into the trap of chaos. Dressing for the grade you want does more than show your professor you are dedicated to the class and the exam, it shows yourself that you are ready to work for what you want. Taking the extra 20-30 minutes in the morning to get looking nice allows you to spend the first part of your day pampering yourself, changing the mindset you will have going into your exam. If you spend the morning telling yourself you will do amazing and you go into your exam looking amazing, you will notice a significant improvement on how you feel walking out of the room after the exam.
Make Your Bed
Before you walk out the door for the morning make your bed. When you start your morning by doing something perfect you set the president for your day. You probably won’t get 100% on everything you do today, but by starting with one thing that is absolutely perfect you have set your mind up to continue the trend. Plus when you get home from a hard day you will have the wonderful feeling of falling into a nicely made bed.