Ah, Finals….the time of year every college student dreads. The best parties are being thrown, stress levels are through the roof, and all students just want to say “f*** it, I’ll just fail.” We’ve all been there, especially now with finals right around the corner. These are the times when we decide to just give up, take a nap, and take the failing grade, but that’s not the way to think. Instead of procrastinating and giving up, we should all tell ourselves that it’s only two weeks of exhaustion, all-nighters, and studying. I know we’d all rather go to the best parties of the year, catch up on sleep and just enjoy these last few days of the semester, but when we all see those C’s and D’s, we’ll surely wish we spent these few days working hard to make A’s and high B’s. Let’s try not to look like Homer Simpson, stressing to remember EVERYTHING you learned this semester, even though he looks kind of funny, LOL.
Here are a few ways to overcome the dreadful finals week the right way, coming from past experience.
1. Study groups are a must!
I get that we all probably sat in the back, didn’t make any friends or connections in class and just tried to get by without being noticed. But, instead of just trying to do it all alone, it’s okay to ask for help. Make a friend in class, even if it’s the last day before exams, and ask to share notes, get together and review. Studying and making sure all your notes are fresh in your brain is the best way to feel prepared and pass your exams. You can never prepare too much for an exam and with the help of others who are in the same boat, you’ll surely nail that exam and feel good turning it in! You never know, other students may have taken notes in a way that is easier for you to understand the information being taught. Learn from and grow with others to feel more confident about your work!
2. Note cards are your best friends!
I always used to make fun of the students that pulled out index cards with notes written all over them. I never understood how they helped you understand comprehensive facts and not just definitions, but little did I know that those rainbow looking index cards could make or break your grades. Each color can represent a topic, i.e., blue for Chemistry, green for Algebra, yellow for History, red for Philosophy, pink for Biology, and so on. You can then divide the piles of colors even further, using different color pens or markers for each topic on the cards. For instance, blue cards for chemistry with black marker representing formulas, red markers represent definitions, and green markers represent problem solving. From my experience, sorting everything out on different cards can help you remember the facts and problems when you’re taking your exams.
3. Schedule time to study so you don’t have to cram.
We’re all guilty of cramming for an exam the night before, but why put ourselves through that stress when we can easily schedule times to study, with proper breaks in between. Sit down a few days, or even weeks, before upcoming exams and write down each day you have an exam. After you see what days your exams are on, you can then start planning what days are best to study that information for a few hours with multiple breaks in between. My advice is creating study guides by rereading your notes and rewriting what is important in an outline form. Once you have written everything out in a way that’s easier to see, the stress of reviewing everything from the semester will be easier. All the important information will be right in front of you, allowing you to see what you need to study and figuring out how long it takes. Eventually, you’ll start to notice that studying becomes easier and moves along faster when you’re not just flipping through pages of unnecessary notes. Planners will come to be your best friend and life saver in college, so utilize them to your advantage whenever possible. You can find some awesome planners that have helped me here, here and here!
4. Talking out loud to yourself DOES NOT make you crazy.
The best advice to any student, from experience, is after you’ve made a clear outline of your notes, you should read them out loud to yourself as if you’re your own teacher, teaching yourself. Once I make my outline, I start reading it to myself in a quiet room, quizzing and asking myself questions, and creating examples that I know I will remember. My examples consist of everyday situations that I know I’ll remember when I take my exam. The best part is, when I take my exams and remember those examples, I kind of laugh to myself which probably makes me look like a weirdo for anyone watching me during the final. A good example to remember some things would be try to relate notes and facts to a current TV series or movie you just watched, or fun-facts about your friends, that way when you get side tracked during your exam, you’ll remember those examples and not feel bad for dozing off to memories that have nothing to do with the exam.
5. Coffee is your friend, but so is water and green tea.
Coffee is what gets us through the long and exhausting days full of school work and real work. There isn’t one day that I can go by without having AT LEAST one or two cups of coffee! But, did you know that green tea has the same caffeine effects as coffee does without making you feel jittery and wired? Green tea is known to improve brain function, which can most definitely help when studying for exams. It also helps you burn fat, which we all want to do after gaining, not only the “Freshman 15”, but the “College 30”! Green tea also aids in boosting productivity! Who wouldn’t want to burn fat, be more productive and more focused when studying for finals?! You can find all the benefits from green tea here. Water is also very important, especially when you’re munching on sweets, drinking caffeine or just pacing around while reading your notes out loud. Remember to stay focused and healthy, as studying for finals can take a toll on your body, physically and mentally.
Now that I have helped you somewhat prepare for the upcoming weeks of finals, I hope all of these tips have somewhat helped! Make sure to breathe, take it one day at a time, relax, prepare yourselves, and focus on what it feels like to finish up the semester strong with AMAZING grades! Trust me, when you see those hard earned A’s on your final grade submissions, you’ll realize that note cards, study groups, planners and green tea breaks weren’t a total waste of your time! Walking out of your last class after taking a final knowing you crushed it is the best feeling in the world! Now, get off the internet, open some books, make those strong outlines, and get to studying! You all have A’s to make this semester!
Good luck to everyone! XOXO