How to Survive Finals

by Kat Polk

Finals are approaching, students are studying and stressing. Preparing for finals can be difficult, and stressful, but what is the point of all this stress anyway? How can we study for finals? How can we reduce the immense amount of stress that final cause? These are the questions that many of the students are asking. Are you ready to prepare for finals?

The Purpose of Finals

Of course final exams are to make sure that students have learned something over the course of the semester, but is one big test really an accurate representation of a student’s knowledge? Finals help us tell which students work well under pressure, or are good test takers, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect which students understand the material.

Studying is important, and it can help you learn the material that you need in order to pass your tests. The only issue with this is that some students, even the ones who work hard and study, struggle to take tests. It is important to find the test taking strategy that works for you, that way your finals can accurately reflect the information that you have learned.

Time Management

Working hard and using good time management skills can help, but remember it is possible to overwork yourself. Overworking can cause yourself to burn out, so it is a vital importance that you find a good balance between the two. Make sure you have enough time to get all of your work done, but still leaving time to take breaks. 

A common studying technique, which is used by many students, is to study for around thirty minutes, then take a break for about five or ten minutes. This technique allows your brain to regain energy, and still have enough time to study. Not only does this technique give you more brain power, but it can actually have a positive impact on your mental health.

Study Strategies

Many students use flashcards to study, which can be incredibly helpful, but it makes it difficult to cover all of the material. Another way to study, is to find a friend and teach each other the material that you learned in class. Studies show that by teaching someone else, you also solidify the information in your own brain, making it a successful study strategy.

Other study strategies include group studying, annotating your notes, memorizing information, and reviewing a textbook. I have found that group studying tends to work the best, because not only are you studying, but you are also spending time with friends. By studying with friends, it makes you feel more motivated. The only downside to this is that it is easy to get distracted.

Test Taking Strategies

One way to help improve your test scores is to do a memory dump. A memory dump is when you write down all of the things that you will probably need to remember. Do this as soon as the test starts. If you are allowed a separate sheet of paper, then use that to write down important information such as dates, formulas, equations, or lists. By doing this, you won’t forget the information later on in the test, and you can improve your focus.

Another good strategy for test taking, is to go through and answer all of the easy questions first, then move on to the hard ones. If you are having trouble with one question, chances are you will remember the answer later on. It is not uncommon for questions to answer themselves later on in the test in the form of another question.

Finally, you can improve your test scores by relaxing. As hard as it may sound, it can help, and it certainly can’t hurt to try. If you find it hard to focus in the middle of a test, or you feel stressed, sit back in your chair and take a deep breath. Doing this can help clear your mind, making you calmer, and more focused.

Finals can cause a lot of stress, but studying, and good time management can help.