Stop denying it. It’s coming. Or it’s already here.
That one week that determines one fifth of your semester.
It’s finals time.
You’ve played before, you know the rules. You study instead of eat, you get no sleep, you disable Facebook, you neglect your friends and forget to call home, or you’re on the phone every night breaking down from stress and fatigue.
You’ve spent a hundred dollars on coffee.
By now you should have had it down right?
Finals have been a part of your life for ages, and you’ve received tons of advice from parents, advisors, faculty, siblings and friends.
Has it helped? Odds are it has been pretty cliché.
“Make a schedule.”
“Manage your time.”
“Don’t stay up late.”
“Don’t study right before a test.”
It feels, around this time of year, that the advice we get falls flat on its face. In case the old methods just aren’t getting your grades up, here is a list of tangible new ideas you can try as a last resort to rescue your semester.
Treat your exam like a project
A project has many components, and so does an exam.
Don’t treat the test like a race, where you practice and then run as fast you can towards summer. Treat it like a project.
Use techniques like the ‘brain dump,’ where you write down everything you can remember in the first couple of minutes so your brain doesn’t look like a web browser tab bar.
Part of preparing for a final is researching technique as well as material.
If your campus has a writing center, use it
Editing your own paper is annoying, and you’re liable to miss errors or think things are better than they actually are.
There is nothing a teacher notices faster than a sentence that sounds weird or a careless mistake, so if you’re final exam is a paper, send it into the writing center and take the tiny amount of time required to go over it with a tutor.
That hour can make a big difference, and you are never as good a writer as you can be.
Remember, grades don’t actually matter. That much.
If all else fails, remember that many pundits believe grades don’t really matter. It’s one academic’s take on your work. Plus, the average cutoff for employers in terms of GPA is a 3.0.
Unwind with a beer. No, really.
Everyone always suggests that going out before your exam is only effective if you’re aiming for failure.
Scientists at the University of Illinois disagree. They found that students who drank 2 pints of beer before the exam solved 40% more problems correctly than their sober classmates and solved them three seconds faster.
If you are of legal age, of course.
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