Finals week: How to avoid the alarm bells

May 4, 2015

Scribe Staff
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We at The Scribe feel it as finals approach, both on campus in general and in our own lives as students.

But finals shouldn’t be so scary or so stressful, and here’s how we can make them a tolerable experience.

First, put in your work before finals week to minimize the stress and chaos. We can all do this in two ways, and the first one starts well before finals week.

Be present and attentive in the first 15 weeks of the class. Put in good work then, and your grade won’t be so dependent on how you do on the final. If you think you are busy at the start of the semester, think of how the end of the semester will be and take advantage of the relatively large amount of free time.

Then, when we approach finals week, start your studying well prior to the night before the test. Cramming is almost never a good idea, it adds significantly to our stress level and almost always results in retaining less information.

Unless that’s how you work, then more power to you.

Also, study smart. Re-reading the whole book is simply not feasible. Zoom in on sections you know you need to review, and look at both the book and your notes. The book may have a nugget of information that you missed in your notes.

Second, utilize all the resources at your disposal both before and during the test. If the teacher hands out a study guide, use it. And then look at it. And then use it and look at it again. A study guide is the professor’s way of saying “Hey, look here for some of the guaranteed questions and answers.”

During the test, utilize the power of multiple choice questions. Eliminate impossible options to narrow the possible answers down. Use different sections of the test: if a topic is mentioned in a multiple choice question, use it for the short answer that mentions the same issue.

Finally, and perhaps most critically, relax. At a certain point, you have done all the studying and panicking that you can do, and it’s time to take the test. At that point, it will be what it will be. If you’ve done your work, the results should be just fine.

Anxiety during the test clouds your thinking, and it may lower your score to something not appropriate to your study time. Even if you don’t know an answer, being able to think it out in a calm manner often results in the correct response.

Don’t panic; we can conquer finals if we use the correct tools at our disposal.