With college finals looming around the corner, it’s often tough to think about anything else. A small amount of nervousness is required to keep you studying hard. However, stressing over finals will only make your life worse. Here are some things to keep in mind during the busiest time of the year:
- Budget your time. Though I seem to struggle with this the most, time management is one of the most important things when it comes to finals success in college, and in life. When it comes to finals—you never want to be cramming for anything. Reviewing and quizzing yourself right before the test is useful, but you can’t rely on that alone. Set out times you are available to go to the library/your favorite study spot and stick to those times. Studying for finals should take priority over (almost) everything else for the months of November and December.
- Study for your hardest final first. Though uncomfortable, it is proven that practice makes perfect, and more time to practice (study) is ideal when it comes to difficult finals. So face your hardest challenge head-on. You won’t want to, but if you want a good grade on the test, you will want to. Get started as soon as you can! The
- Seek help from the right places. Studying with peers is extremely helpful, if you can organize your classmates to find a time to study together. If you find yourself needing more help than your classmates, you may want to seek out a tutor (free for freshmen). Someone who has already taken the class you are struggling in can be of great help as well, but don’t rely on them to know exactly what you should be studying for—finals are never the same from year to year. Teachers are the best option and you should try to schedule time with them and attend their office hours.
- Take breaks when you are studying. You’ve probably already experienced this, but you can’t (and shouldn’t) study nonstop. Breaks away from your computer doing something fun actually increase your concentration and productivity, because you let your mind rest and absorb the information you have just learned. Plus, you have something to look forward to. “In 30 minutes, I will go get ice cream and come back to studying.” If you’re studying hard, you deserve breaks (15 minute breaks every 90 minutes at least). There are entire studies devoted to the studying to break ratio. You will find out what works best for you with practice.
- Stay active and social. Treating your body and your friends well during this time of year is the best thing you can do to improve your overall health and test scores. Exercise and a healthy dose of social interaction and laughter will keep you positive. Your friends are need you too!
- Keep it all in perspective. While doing well on finals factors a huge part into your success at any university, your grades don’t define you. And your grades will not determine your life. One poor grade isn’t the end of your world. It teaches you what you need to work on or change to be better next time. A bad grade could also guide you in your academic pursuits. You are not a failure if you do fail a class. You have your entire life ahead of you!
If finals seem like everything to you—they are not. If finals seem like nothing to you, still take them seriously—work hard so you can know you tried your personal best. You can always gain more than you can lose if you study hard.