How to Survive College or University Finals

Finals don't have to kill you. With advance planning, stress management and little rewards you too can survive finals!

Steps

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    Save all your work. If you are a college student then chances are your instructor will base the final on previous exams. Keep your returned exams and assignments and refer to those when studying for the final.
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    Review your text and notes. There may be some things you missed the first time around that will help you during the final. It is also good to re-read the material many times so you know it inside and out.
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    Take advantage of mnemonic devices. Think of catchy rhymes or saying to remember important facts for the final. An example of this would be "My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets" (device to remember the order of the planets in our solar system, before Pluto was demoted of course) Mnemonic devices are great for when you draw a blank in the middle of an exam.
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    Reward yourself. For every 2 hours of study time give yourself a little break with a reward, some video games, a phone call to a friend, a walk etc. Whatever you consider a reward. NOTE: some consider marijuana or alcohol to be a reward but it is certainly counterproductive to studying and retaining information.
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    Eat and sleep well. All the studying in the world won't help if you show up to the final sleep deprived and undernourished. You will probably need a little more sleep than usual because of all the mental exercise you've been doing so don't worry about extra catnaps. Naps during breaks (no more than 15 minutes) can be a great way to "recharge" your brain for more studying.
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    Reward yourself. When finals are completed reward yourself with a big treat, an amusement park, dinner at a nice restaurant, road trip, etc. You deserved it for working so hard and staying so focused. (regardless of your final grades)
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    Good luck!

Tips

  • Take care of yourself, your brain and body are connected and work as a team.
  • Some foods to eat to help your retention of knowledge and overall brain health include blueberries, almonds, wild salmon, cacao beans, soy, citrus fruits, leafy greens, dried sunflower seeds, whole grains, sage, curry, green tea, eggs, carbohydrates, and water.
  • Don't party on nights before a final. Hangovers combined with minimal sleep will not be good to have during the exam.

Warnings

  • All night cram sessions are good in theory but leave you zombified in the morning. Don't do it, no matter how tempting, sleep is crucial.
  • Whatever you do, try not to have any drastic changes in your routine. If you normally get 5 hours of sleep, don't sleep for 10 hours the night before a final, it can mess you up!
  • Good time management will help you avoid the notorious all nighters. Plan! Plan! Plan!

Article Info

Categories: College and University Study Techniques | Tests and Exams