Finals Week – Eight Tips on How to Succeed
Classes are almost over. You’ve made it this far, but looming on the horizon are – gasp – FINALS. They may seem daunting, but with the right approach, you can improve your odds of success during what can be a trying week in your academic life.
Tip 1: Prioritize your studies
Many students mistakenly think they need to be spending equal amounts of time preparing for each final. It seems obvious, but a better approach is to devote more time to studying for tests you expect to be more difficult, or classes you’ve struggled with more during the semester.
Tip 2: Free up your schedule
Studying for finals is going to take up a lot of your time. There’s no getting around it. To give yourself more time to study, it can be beneficial to cut out any unnecessary social or family responsibilities. If your friends want to go out for a night on the town, tell them you can meet up next week. If your mother wants to go shopping over the weekend, tell her you might have to wait a few days. A little extra time spent studying can make a big difference when it comes to your grades.
Tip 3: Study with your classmates … if it makes sense
Students often assume that studying with their classmates is the best way to cover the most material in a short amount of time. While this can be the case, it isn’t always true. With the wrong mix of people, group study can turn into an excuse to chat and goof around with your classmates. Suddenly, well-intentioned study can turn into hours of wasted time.
But don’t be put off by the idea of group study altogether. With the right classmates, who are preferably all at least as smart as you, group study can be a great way to cover loads of material and get a leg up on your exam.
Tip 4: Work with your instructor
Another effective way to prepare for an exam is to review class materials with your instructor. If he or she has open office hours or scheduled final exam study sessions during finals week, take your instructor up on the offer. He or she knows what’s going to be on the final, and if you pay attention, you might get a pretty good idea too.
Tip 5: Take breaks
This one’s a biggie. You might think the harder you study, the better grade you’re going to get. That’s not always the case. You can only digest so much information before your brain needs a break. Be aware of how you’re feeling when you study. If you don’t seem to be absorbing the material as well after hours of concentration, don’t be afraid to put a hold on your studies. If you can’t recall what you just read over the last 10 minutes, it’s probably a good time to put on your favorite TV show or call up a friend for coffee.
Tip 6: Get plenty of sleep
Geared up to pull an all-nighter? That might not be such a good idea. Your body and mind need sleep to function at a high level. Getting a good rest allows you to be much more alert and able to recall the information you’ve worked so hard to learn.
Tip 7: Eat healthy
If you typically dine on quick unhealthy meals and junk food, finals week is a crucial time to kick the habit. Eating healthy can help boost your brain function, which you’ll need when your test days arrive. Instead of snacking on chips, candy and other unhealthy foods, opt for natural foods like fruits, berries, nuts and vegetables. Work these ingredients into your main course meals as well, and you may be surprised at how well you’re able to think.
Tip 8: Stay active
A healthy body and healthy mind go hand in hand. If you already have a regular workout schedule, stick to it as best you can. If you’re typically not an active person, try working a few activities into your schedule. Go out for a quick run or devote 15 minutes to pushups and crunches. Even if you don’t have time for a full-on hour at the gym, every little bit helps.