It’s the Final Countdown: Surviving Finals

It’s May, and you know what that means, don’t you? Final exams! Yay! Okay, maybe not “yay.”

Finals time is one of the most difficult periods of students’ lives. Believe me, I know. I kept a 4.0 cumulative GPA during both my undergraduate career and throughout my graduate career thus far, and I always dreaded finals. If teachers weren’t doing huge exams, then they were assigning giant essays or portfolios that would determine students’ academic fates. So, from a seasoned student to those students who must still tackle the academic dragons that are finals, here are some tips to help you survive, thrive, and pass those finals with flying colors.

If I’ve missed any tips that you know of, then please let me know in the comments below.

1.  Stock up on good food. There’s a tendency to grab whatever is available when you’re up to your neck in studying and writing essays. But your brain needs good fuel, not just crap food. Don’t get me wrong, I love instant noodles too, but they’re not going to give you much nutrition. Cook up some nutritious meals or get some from somewhere, and then freeze them. Then, when you’re hungry, you can pop them in the microwave and eat food that will fuel your brain.

2Stock up on whatever helps you to stay awake. If those are caffeine drinks, cool. If that’s tea, cool. If that’s plain water, cool. Whatever it is, make sure that you have plenty of it so that you don’t waste precious time going to the store.

Bichon Cup
Personally, I’m more of a tea or coffee drinker, but to each his/her own. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

3.  Don’t change your habits now. Finals time is NOT when you should adopt “new and better” habits. Your body and mind have adjustment times when you try to incorporate a new behavior into your routine. So, whatever that new thing is that you want to try, save it until after finals week.

4.  Limit your social media time. I know that it’s fun to commiserate with others about how miserable finals are on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. But view your social media time as time that you are postponing being done. If you’re on Facebook for an hour, then that’s one hour you’ve put off being done with your studying. You definitely need breaks, and social media can be great for breaks, but be wary of how much time you spend on it.

5.  Get something that your hands can fiddle with. Sometimes, having our hands do something can make our brains work a little bit better. So, get something like a little bouncy ball, a hacky sack, or maybe some of that super nice kinetic sand to keep your hands busy. These toys can also provide small brain breaks where you can still think about the information that you’re studying, but you’re partly concentrating on something else for a few seconds.

Snowie and a Ball
Maybe a ball like this blue one would be fun to fiddle with. Snowie sure enjoyed it when she was a baby. Goodness, she was so small back then. Photo By: Elizabeth Preston

6.  If you’re writing an essay or a portfolio, then use the rubric as a checklist. I will probably write a post at some point on how to tackle rubrics since there are some tricks to them, but, for now, just make sure to go through every single item on your teacher’s rubric and check them off one by one like a grocery list. This will ensure that you have everything that is required, which will aid you in maximizing your points. Heck, try grading your essay or portfolio according to your teacher’s rubric and see how you score. This will also point you to any areas that need your attention and revision.

Also, here are some blog posts on some tricks and tips to taking and acing tests. I hope that they help you with acing all of your finals. Good luck and may the academic force be with you.

“How to Study for A Test the 4.0 GPA Way: Part One”
“How to Study for a Test the 4.0 GPA: Part Two”
“How to Study for a Test the 4.0 GPA Way: Part Three”


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