Wiley: Takedown finals week
Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 00:11
The moment of pure panic has begun with preparation for finals. Students are looking for legal ways to get ahead in the mountain of reading, missed quizzes and hard to read study guides. Mostly likely, you have reached this point in the semester, still not knowing the name of the course you are taking and you don’t want to begin studying for the comprehensive final. Don’t fret; there are a few ways to make the preparation for the dreaded week a little more bearable.
If you have read any of my articles, you know that I am quite fond of lists. I have prepared what I have learned as a few full proof methods of getting through the cram sessions and finals.
Throw out that stupid diet that you are on. You might as well put your fat jeans on because the only way to get through cramming is Mountain Dew, potato chips and Skittles. That’s a lie, but studies show that you do need to eat often. Bring snacks with you to keep you motivated. Also it will keep your energy up, so you can push through the 2 a.m. lull.
You are going to need caffeine and large amounts of it to study. My drug of choice is Diet Coke and Starbucks, but you can choose anything from energy drinks to espresso. You are just in luck because the school has a convenient Starbucks in the library, where you should be studying anyway.
Depending on your caffeine tolerance and consumption, you may need to sleep. If you don’t function well on three hours of sleep, don’t try to. If you need your eight hours to function, make sure you manage your time in order to rest. If your brain can’t take the lack of rest, your study time will be wasted. If you completely neglect the basic human need to sleep, you may succumb to sleep psychosis and hallucinate. Pulling an all-nighter, may be a ton of fun for you, but it will not help you prepare for that chemistry final. Take a couple of hours every day and nap. It will help you in the long run.
Studies show that 20 minutes of cardio a day can help ‘jog’ your memory. Go running outside. Breathing in the fresh air and taking in the nature is relaxing and with engage your mind. If it’s cold outside, hit the gym or try to find something you enjoy doing that can burn calories (i.e. dancing, football, basketball, Zumba, aerobics).
Become acquainted with the library because you will be basically living there until after finals. I’ve seen people sleeping under desks on the fourth floor. I would choose a table by the window. It helps to remember there is a world outside of studying, and you can pretend that you are actually having fun.
You may have to live at the library, but that does not mean you need to neglect personal hygiene. At the end of next week, the library will become pretty crowded, and if you haven’t bathed in three days, someone is going to notice. It may be time to go home and shower if you have gum in your hair, a missing shoe and permanent Cheeto fingers.
Make study guides. They help prepare and give you a jumping off point. Go through everything on your study guide a few times and get familiar with the key terms. So when you take your final, you’ll at least know what the words mean. It will help with the guessing process at least.
Form study groups. Study groups help to motivate you to buckle down and start studying. Getting a group together will allow you to divide and conquer definition of terms and explanations of concepts.
Don’t cram. According to the Dartmouth Academic Skills Center, you should study in 20-50 minute increments and give yourself a five to 10 minute break between each session.
Breathe. A wise person told me "the world will continue to spin." This is not the end all be all. I promise there is more outside of that 200 question impossible criminology test. It won’t kill you, even if your hand falls off. Just kidding.
Listen to music. According to the Huffington Post, listening to music (such as jazz or classical) while you study stimulates both sides of your brain which increases the likelihood that you will retain information. Try to avoid music with loud drumbeats and lyrics, listen to slow or medium-paced music, and continue one style of studying, such as memorization or science, when listening to a particular type of music.
On the day of the final, eat a high protein breakfast and drink water. If you don’t drink coffee or other beverages with tons of caffeine, don’t start on test day. You’ll be jittery and restless. Know what you need to bring to the final. A blue book or a scantron? Pen or Pencil? Don’t bring your cell phone or you’ll be tempted to look at it. And lastly, don’t forget to bring your A-game.
Finally, after this monstrosity of a week is over, forget about the tests and go have some fun. Everyone has their vices. Personally, you will find me with a glass of wine and a Netflix movie, but whatever floats your boat.
Good luck and ace those exams!