Top 10 Ways To Survive Finals

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It is April.  Spring has sprung.  The weather is turning nicer.  Days are getting longer.  The end of the semester is in sight – and you’re expected to focus and prepare for final exams.  Seems like a good time for another Top 10 list.  So, here are our Top 10 Ways to Survive Finals:

10.  Say NO to cramming.  Temping as it may be to try to jam as much information into your head at the last moment as possible, only to regurgitate it onto the exam paper a short time later – you’re not doing yourself any favours.  In order to retain the information long term (and isn’t that the purpose of your education?) you’ll do better to study in intervals of 20-50 minutes with short breaks in between.

9.  Bust a move!  Just 20 minutes of cardio can help your memory.  So get up and go for a walk, a jog or break out your best whip nae nae (is that really a thing?)

8.  Feed your brain.  Contrary to popular opinion, college students can not live on Big Macs and beer alone.  Having a well-balanced diet helps with concentration and attention – and these things come in handy when you’re preparing for finals.

7.  Ask questions.  One of the great benefits of attending a small college is access to your instructors.  So, if there is something that has been covered in class that you just can’t quite figure out – go ask!  Your instructor WANTS to help you to understand so never be afraid to ask questions.

6.  Catch some zzz’s.  Sleep is not always a college student’s number one priority – but it is a very important factor for exam success. It will be easier to retain information and to be fully focused on your exams if you’re not wanting to curl up in a student lounge and snooze.

5.  Study with a group.  If you don’t fully understand a concept, a study partner might help to bring clarity.  Or, if you’re the one who understands what exactly was up with Schrodinger’s cat – explaining it to your study partner can help to solidify that knowledge for yourself.  It’s a win-win.

4.  Duly noted.  You’ve taken notes throughout the semester (right??).  Now take more notes!  Review the volumes of pages you wrote in class and write a succinct summary of the important topics.  Or write the most pertinent information on flash cards.  Re-writing the important information will help you to retain it – and summarizing the material will reduce the amount of information you’re reviewing.

3. Reward yourself.  Treat yourself to your favourite goodie after you finish reviewing a section (a gummy bear or Hershey’s kiss works well – beer is likely to be counterproductive).  This will make reviewing more enjoyable and will be incentive to keep going.

2. Take time to laugh.  You can’t study 24-hours a day.  It is important to take breaks.  And finding ways to laugh during those breaks can help reduce stress and tension.  So watch a funny show on Netflix.  Hang out with your funniest friend.  Watch cat videos on YouTube.  Whatever works for you – just make time to laugh.

1.  Don’t panic.  Easier said than done, I know.  But once exam time comes there is nothing more you can do.  You’ve studied all the things and now you either know it or you don’t.  Freaking out will not change anything.  So, just take a deep breath, take your time looking through the exam questions and remember – you’ve got this!

Good luck to everyone writing exams this month!