This is College: Thoughts of an Undergraduate Peer Academic Advisor vol. 1.4
Major: Psychology and Anthropology, Minor: Childhood Studies
Class: Senior, 2014
The Procrastinator’s Guide to Final Exams – Fall 2013
It’s hard to believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving break! Even though most of us would much rather be thinking about our plans for the holiday, we can’t forget that final exams are right around the corner. I am a hardcore procrastinator and if you are like me, you have a hard time finding the motivation to study before 12:00am the night before the exam. Trust me, as tempting as it is to leave all your work until the last minute, you won’t actually learn the material for your exam. Over the years I have compiled a few techniques that have helped me prepare for my finals and relieve some of the stress I feel at this time of year.
The first step to doing well on your finals is knowing when everything is due. The only things that you need for this project are: a pen, sticky notes (preferably in different colors), and blank wall space. Before you even begin studying, gather all of the syllabi from your classes for the semester. Assign each of your classes a different color sticky note pad (if you don’t have different colors, you can use colored pens or crayons for each class) and write down each assignment you have left on individual sticky notes for each class. Then post the sticky notes on the back of your bedroom door, or somewhere that you have space, in order of the date they are due. The result is a brightly colored collage of everything that you need to get done before Winter Break. After you complete each assignment, tear that sticky note off the wall and toss it out. This method can also be modified to fit your individual needs; you can add practice times, big events, or even when you want to start working on an assignment. This has always helped me tremendously because sometimes I forget I have something due until the day before, and then I am up all night working on it.
Another trick that I use frequently when I am studying or working on an assignment is to take little breaks in between big chunks of work time. For example, work or study for 30-50 minutes straight with no interruptions then take a 10 minute break and repeat the process. This way, you won’t get burned out by trying to learn too much at one time and you also have something to look forward to once your 30-50 minutes is up. I usually like to make myself a snack during my break instead of turning on Netflix, picking up my 3DS, or taking a nap; that way I won’t be tempted to take a longer break than I had already allowed for myself.
For this semester, the last day of classes is Friday, December 6th and the reading days are Monday, December 9th through Tuesday, December 10th at 4:30pm. The Final Exam period lasts from Tuesday, December 10th at 4:30 pm to Wednesday, December 18th at 10:15 pm. Check your syllabi or talk to your professors to see exactly what time your exams begin. By being aware of when everything is due, you can begin to plan your study schedule accordingly. Whatever study tricks work for you, make sure that you also have plenty of time to rest. Best of luck to you all on your finals!