The Exam Apocalypse: How to survive finals
The Final Exam Apocalypse is coming! It feels that way sometimes, and you may feel you need a survival guide to weather final exams. However, fighting your way through finals is not nearly as hard as fighting off a horde of zombies! You can follow a few simple rules that may help you sail through finals without sacrificing your health or sanity.
Rule 1: The time to prepare for finals is the first day of class.
You heard that right; start preparing for finals on the first day and you may have a much more comfortable final exam experience knowing you have studied. There are several reasons for this strategy. For one, many classes allow you to exempt finals if your grade point average and attendance are good. By planning to be in class every session and keeping your grades up, you may not have to take finals. Also handed out on the first day of class is your syllabus—the key to your final exam. The syllabus outlines the expectations for the course. From time to time you should review your syllabus and its objectives; this can be a great way to outline possible study questions for your final review.
Finally, studying throughout the semester is always better than cramming. In some cases, cramming can even be counterproductive found from a study out of the University of California, Berkeley stating that “steady absorption that’s key to long-term learning”. If you space out your studies to review, take in new material, and review again in measured increments, you are more likely to remember material for your final exam—and beyond.
Rule 2: Plan to study for finals at least one week in advance.
Two weeks is actually a more manageable goal for many, giving you ample time to review and associate detailed concepts to overall themes. Review overlapping sections each day; in other words, review some of the previous day’s material before you start on the next section. This will help you focus your mind on what you already know, which is the key to unlocking memory.
Rule 3: Thrive and survive! Take care of your health.
While you may need to engage in protracted study sessions, skimping on your health will not make you study harder or better. Every few hours, take a break, go for a walk, do some yoga, or engage in some other physical activity to counterbalance your mental hard work. Eat reasonable, frequent meals; gorging on pizza will make you feel bloated and sleepy, which aren’t exactly conducive to good studying. Instead, eat five or six times a day and plan small meals of fruit, cheese, lean meats, soups, whole grains, and other healthy foods. These can help you avoid spikes or drops in your blood sugar level.
Additionally, be sure to get plenty of sleep. No matter how much you need to study, skimping on sleep is not going to help your grades. A study out of the University of Alabama found that getting enough sleep is “crucial for memory consolidation and retention” and that “overnight studiers (or crammers) don’t have the benefit of that consolidation, so they will retain less information when it comes time to taking the test the next day.” Meaning, you can undo the benefits of hours of study by showing up at a final exam groggy and sleep-deprived.
Rule 4: Review essays and take-home finals several times before you turn them in.
If you rush through a take-home or essay final, you are likely to make mistakes. Instead of being in such a rush, take the time to review your work carefully. This means working every day on a section of your exam rather than trying to finish it all in one night. Each day, review the previous day’s work before starting on another section. Reserve a day or two prior to turning in your essay so that you can review the final product in one piece.
Rule 5: Alternate study topics.
Spending too much time on one topic eventually saturates your brain and makes it difficult to concentrate. Just switching from history to math can give your brain a jolt, so try setting a study time limit for each subject. When that time limit is reached, move on to another subject. You can come back to the original subject after a few hours if you wish, and continue this alternating pattern as long as you need to cover the material.
Follow the rules to avoid the Final Exam Apocalypse. The idea is not simply to survive your finals, but to ace them in style!
Chad Fisher is an education enthusiast with a passion for building education and career-oriented websites to help people learn more about careers that interest them. Lately his desire has been helping people start a career in Civil Engineering. Learn more about Engineering at CivilEngineeringCareers.org
Similar articles you may like:
- Mixed Musical Messages [Infographic] - OnlineSchools.com
The goal of earning a master’s degree should be defined by you, not by your circumstances. No matter which path you’ve chosen, a graduate degree can help you advance with your current organization, explore opportunities with a new company, or even start fresh in a new industry. When you earn your master's degree, you’re opening new opportunities for career development that can make a difference for you and your family. Through flexible class scheduling, dedicated career advisors and quality programs, NAU strives to provide a caring and supportive learning environment to ensure your success as a student.
- Master of Business Administration, Aviation Management
- Master of Science in Nursing - Nursing Education
- Master of Science in Nursing - Care Coordination More...
Located in the breathtaking Sonoran desert of southern Arizona and within an international border region, The University of Arizona is consistently ranked as a top public research university, offering graduate degrees in more than one hundred fields and is widely recognized for its cutting-edge research and innovation.
- Master of Public Health Online
Purdue University offers a strong foundation of tradition and history.
- Master of Science in Communication
- Master of Science in Education in Special Education
- Master of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management More...
Our Lady of the Lake University is a private, Catholic university with a deep connection to the history and community of San Antonio.
- Master of Social Work (MSW) Degree
The Accounting Academy was founded in 2005 and has been continuously approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private-Pstsecondary Education.
- Basic Computer and Microsoft Office Skills
- Accounting and Bookkeeping
- Master of Education in Higher Education
Why Choose Widener University?
At Widener University, we proudly cultivate challenging and culturally diverse learning environments where academics, leadership, and service come first. Our curricula are connected to societal issues and challenge students to take social responsibility for their role in today's global society.
- Masters of Social Work
- Veterinary Assistant
- Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course
- Grooming Instruction