Susan’s Take: Last week we offered advice on things you should do to ace your finals, and this week we follow up with six things not to do during finals week. We go beyond the obvious one such as don’t pull all-nighters, don’t’ drink alcohol to excess and don’t live on Captain Crunch alone.
Sleep and proper nutrition are key to your success, but you’ve read that already.
Here six things you might not know:
1. Don’t trust your friend when he tells you he knows what’s going to be on the exam. Many well-meaning friends who have had the class you are taking will tell you that it’s been the same exam for 10 years. They’ll tell you what areas you don’t have to study.
While that might be true, it might not. Listen to what your well-meaning friend has to say and then study everything the professor has covered during the semester.
2. Don’t make major health changes this week, no matter how healthy they might be long-term. You’ve been thinking of giving up smoking or caffeine? Great idea, but leave the withdrawal until winter break.
Final exams are not the time to shock your system by changing what your body is used to.
3. Don’t skip optional study sessions hosted by your professor. Some professors offer optional study sessions and if yours does — attend it! Many professors will blatantly reward people for attending these optional sessions by disclosing information about the exam.
Pat’s Take: Tough to disagree with Susan’s advice this week. It’s very solid. Let me build on it. I’ll be brief, as time is a precious commodity for you this week!
4. Don’t catch up on your reading. Learn your notes first (assuming you’ve been to class), and then focus on catching up on the reading. If you run out of time, you’ll want to have a comprehensive knowledge of the notes (unless the professor has specifically told you that there will be content on the final that he/she hasn’t covered but is in the reading.
Remember, most professors lecture on the content they believe is most important. They then test your knowledge of that important content on exams.
5. Don’t study in a group unless you have a successful track record with them. This is not the time to experiment with new study groups (or techniques). If the group doesn’t function well, or others come less prepared than you, you’ll spin your wheels and end up being a tutor.
6. Don’t over caffeinate. Just because some caffeine might be good, that doesn’t’ mean that more is better. You’ll lose the ability to focus if you’re too hyped up on Red Bull, and lose the ability to get quality sleep when you’re done studying if you have massive quantities of caffeine coursing through your veins.
Our Bottom Line: If you follow the advice in last week’s column and avoid these six major pitfalls, you should be in position to not only survive, but to thrive, in the finals process.
Are you transitioning from college to career or working in your first job after graduation? If so, we’d love to answer any question you may have related to career success. Send your first name, school, and/or employer to AskPatandSusan@gmail.com and we’ll try to address your question in a future article.
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