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How to Survive Finals Week with a Smile
Over-achieving will get you no where. If you're genuinely engrossed by a subject then by all means consume all you can on the topic. If you are, however, only taking Philosophy because it meets your liberal and global studies requirements, then study only what you must. It's really important to know what to expect on the final. Most professors will upload or hand out study guides. Use them! These are incredibly useful tools that basically blueprint what's to be expected! If your professor hasn't made a study guide available then look back at the syllabus. Generally, whatever was important enough to mention in the syllabus is important enough to show up on the final. The more time you spend on what's important, the more you're actually likely to know the material on the test. This way you aren't working overtime to memorize dates, times, or specifics that won't even show up. It's also a good idea to ask your professor if the test is going to be based on facts and specifics,( i.e. The Civil Rights Act was passed into law in 1964.) or understanding of basic concepts (i.e. Theism is the belief in a god and their transcendent ability to preserve existence.).
Study with a Buddy
Contrary to what one might assume, studying alone can be incredibly counter productive. Have you ever caught yourself dozing off? Procrastinating? Mind wandering? When you're alone it's a lot easier to make the decision not to focus. Yes, your friends may be loud and at times even obnoxious but they offer a really vital support system. Studying with friends can be incredibly rewarding as you are placed in an environment conducive to, yes, studying. If you all sit down with the intention of studying then guess what? You'll probably study. Plus, having short breaks to distress by dancing and singing to Beyoncé never hurt. You're cortisol levels will thank you for it!
It's really easy to reach for a can of soda and a bag of chips when studying. It's even easier to OD on coffee when staying up extra late to cram. However, it's really important to keep your brain functioning on a high level. This means greens. Make sure you're still eating healthy but that you're also eating enough. Do not skip meals and do not skimp on water. Both calories and hydration are vital to proper brain function. Also don't cut out sleeping hours. It's important to get enough rest. Your brain is basically a computer. The longer it's on the more lag you're going to experience as it over heats. Shut down and enjoy the rest. Then boot up and start again the next day. Ultimately, it will benefit you in the end. Not to mention, sleeping on information actually gives you a better chance of retaining it. Cramming is very temporary and unreliable as the information is basically only on loan for a short while. You already have to study and read it all--you might as well know it.
Don't Worry, Be Happy
The best thing you can do for yourself during finals week is to keep your cool. Believing that everything will turn out all right generally leads to everything turning out all right. So during the week of finals it' important to remind yourself:
- I am confident.
- I am smart.
- I know the material.
- It's not the end of the world.
Time Spent Studying
How long do you generally study?
Did you know...?
- You burn an average of 100 calories an hour studying.
- The average student studies 15 hours a week.
- The average college GPA is 3.1
- Woody Allen was thrown out of University for cheating on a metaphysics final.
De-stress After the Test!
Once your finals are over, it's time to celebrate! Grab your friends and have a good time. You've truly earned it and deserve it.
- Grab a celebratory drink or dinner.
- Have a party or gathering!
- Read something you're actually interested in.
- Veg out in front of the TV.
- Go ahead, eat an entire pizza.
- Do absolutely nothing.
Before the Test, Rest!
It's important to stay level-headed before the test. If you're wicked stressed out before you even sit down to take the test--you'll overthink everything. This can cause some pretty disasterous results. So in addition to trusting yourself try to keep calm and collected by taking care of yourself.
- Treat yourself to some goodies after studying
- Take time to just breathe
- Listen to music
- Watch a movie before bed (but try to limit time in front of the TV)
- Do something creative (this will also increase your ability to retain information. Bonus!)
Once it's all over--you'll smile regardless. Having finals over with is like having bricks removed from your chest. It's incredibly relieving to have it all over with. It's a good idea though to take note of what you felt you did well and would like to improve on in the future. Remember! It'll all come back around next semester!