Finals week can be a frustrating and exhausting experience if one is not physically and mentally prepared. Most students rely on caffeine rushes and all-nighters to get them through exams. But the benefits of learning how to prepare for finals far outweigh the stresses of staying up all night to cram. If you don’t want to fail all your final exams, disappoint your parents, and waste your tuition money, here are some dos and don’ts in preparing for finals.
Find a quiet place to study. Studying for finals takes a great amount of concentration. According to Dr. John Grohol of PsychCentral.com, finding an ideal study place is important, because it’s one you can reliably count on for the next few years. Find a place to study that is conducive for concentrating and learning. Choose a place that is quiet, comfortable, and distraction-free (no cell phones, Facebook, etc). It would be better to study where you can get fresh air and view than to study in your room.
Be in a study group. Studying with your friends/ classmates will help you understand the hard topics better. Studies in facultyfocus.com show that there is the “benefit of social learning,” where students explain the material to other students. Listening to others talk about the content helps them understand the topic better. However, if you get easily distracted or if you have friends who keep goofing around, it would be better for you to study alone.
Don’t eat junk food. Don’t eat pizza, fries, burgers and sugary soft drinks while you’re studying. Lots of sugars, fat, and salt are perfect for weighing you down and making you feel bloated and lethargic. They also shut the brain right down. An article in medicaldaily.com states that eating junk food can increase insulin level in the body which can cause the brain to stop responding, restricting our ability to think of new ideas or memories A light sensible meal with whole grains and vegetables with fruit as a snack will perk you up. You also need to drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.
Don’t wait to study until the night before. Gather all your notes, clarify any information you missed, and start studying. There’s no way you’re going to cram if you study ahead of time. An article in frontiernet.net shows that learning takes place when information is processed by chunks spread out over a time frame. The night before the test should be saved for re-scanning and recalling what you have studied.
Get a good night’s sleep. You need a full night’s sleep to rest your brain. A tired, foggy mind is one that can’t concentrate or recall important information for the test. “Studies show that sleep is crucial for memory consolidation and retention. So if you study hard in the evening, and then you get a good night’s sleep, you should remember a lot of what you learned, but overnight studiers don’t have the benefit of that consolidation, so they will retain less information when it comes time to taking the test the next day,” said Kenneth Lichstein, research director of the University of Alabama.
Keep everything in perspective, don’t stress it out! Stressing out over an exam will drive you (and everyone around you) crazy and will only damage your performance on the exam. Instead, try to relax. Take a break when you get frustrated. Talk to a friend. Go for a run. Grab a snack. Study for a different subject. An article from Brightside.org concludes that those who worried less got better results in their exams, even when compared to how well they were expected to do. And so whatever you do, remember that this test isn’t the end of the world. Twenty years from now, you probably won’t even remember the reason why you stressed out so much (or the grade you received).
Pray. Remember to pray before and after taking your exams. A little faith goes a long way.
The finals week will be on October 6-11, 2014. Ace your exams, Sillimanians!~
By Kathryn Ged L. Ballesteros