Defeating the dreaded finals

BY william Lewandowski

lewandowwi@mnstate.edu

Finals are on everybody’s mind, which means studying is in the air, but is all this cramming really worth it?

When students inefficiently cram for finals, they blank out when it comes to taking the test. I’m not saying that going to the library for six hours straight is wrong, but for all students taking finals, there are a few key tips I suggest taking into account when studying for finals.

First is spaced review. Take one subject at a time and study for about 20 minutes. Take a short break, then return to work for another 15 to 20 minutes and repeat. This way of studying ensures a fresh return to studying.

Something one of my professors told me was most attention spans last about eight minutes when focused on one thing. So, taking these quick breaks will really help when cramming.

The next thing to assist finals cramming is getting a healthy dose of sleep each night and a wholesome breakfast in the morning.

Getting enough sleep is crucial and may be difficult with a long to-do list on the mind, but it is worth it in the long run. Studying when well-rested proves to help retain memory and information needed for those finals. Having an average eight hours of sleep replenishes awareness and keeps the immune system going.

Getting an essential breakfast, too, proves to wake up the mind and body, causing motivation and energy needed for those lengthy study sessions. Also, eating a balanced breakfast and staying away from sugary cereals will maintain focus, fight hunger throughout the day and ward off unhealthy snacking.

Additionally, use study skills to gain an advantage. When studying, use time management to make sure every subject gets its own allotted time. With more dense subjects, students may want to have more time for that class compared to a basic class that only needs a quick 45 minutes worth of time.

For most subjects, making a master study sheet composed of essential points and key concepts is useful.

With a class like chemistry, for example, a student will want to skim through each chapter and take out the important vocabulary, main topics and important points and problems, and compile them into a well-organized review packet. This is a useful tool when needing more of a comprehensive look onto what will most likely be on the test.

Another tool may be going online and taking practice exams based on the class. For some classes it may be easier than others.

Something that may benefit even more is making a practice exam predicting some of the questions that may be on the exam. Also, teaching classmates the content proves to be a better memorization tool for both students.

One last thing to keep in mind: steer away from negative thought. When it comes to finals everyone becomes stressed. There are projects due, cramming and studying to do. Setting aside time to eat is needed. Everybody is just ready to call it good enough and give up for the semester.

Stress, anxiety, and craziness are flooding the campus; experiencing all this makes everything tough for everyone. Stress causes the immune system to become weak, sleep is lost and motivation depletes.

When it comes to all of this stress, keeping a positive outlook and a motivated attitude will keep any student going.

Remember, study well with the right tools, the best mentality and healthy sleeping and eating practices. All of these things will ensure a beneficial study time and a better outcome when taking the exams.

I hope everybody has a terrific finals week and finishes the semester successfully.

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