to successfully navigate finals week
It is December and final exams are around the corner.
Yes finals, those annoying things at the end of the
semester that keep some of you from focusing all your
attention on Christmas and the events that surround
it. But as I enter my second to last round of finals
with a yawn and a sigh, I realize that for first-year
students, this is their first experience with finals
at the collegiate level. So gather around you young
ones, as the old man enlightens you on how to handle
First of all, you do need to study. I know that most
of you, like me, completely blew off finals in high
school and did not even open the book or look over notes,
but that usually wont work here. The amount of
material is larger and the tests are harder.
So when do you start studying? I like to go with the
rule of one. That means there should only be one day
of studying for each test and it should be no more than
one day away from the day of the test. This means that
if you have a test on Monday, you do not start studying
until Sunday. If two finals fall on one day like they
usually do, you can push the studying for one back a
day, but I do not recommend it. That puts too much time
between the test and the studying. Usually if more than
one test falls on the same day, one is either easier
than the other or they are both easy.
This means that for freshmen, no studying should be
done during dead days. All studying on those days should
be done by pre-med majors and people with tests during
dead days. Every year I see freshman wasting their days
off for first semester college Spanish and Understanding
the Bible and frankly, it saddens me.
So I know when to study, now how do I study? First of
all, you must remember that you already know all the
material because you have already been tested on it.
In this fashion, finals are actually easier than normal
tests. My philosophy is this: Studying is not
learning, it is making sure you already know.
Thus you should do things that test your knowledge and
not put knowledge into your brain. Redo old tests. Answer
questions at the end of the chapters. Quiz yourself
over the subjects that you know will be on the test.
If the test is essay, write a sample essay. If it has
you do problems, do some problems. DO NOT READ THE BOOK.
You have already read the chapters, why would want to
read them again? If you have not read the chapters,
you have gotten this far without reading them, what
makes you think you need to read them now? One thing
you want to keep in mind is that you make sure to go
over everything necessary. Nothing is worse than forgetting
to review something and having it as an essay question.
Now we need to go over your state of mind going into
the final. Most importantly, you need to relax. Remember,
it is just a test. A test has absolutely no eternal
ramifications at all. The worst thing that can happen
is you get a lower grade in that class than you wanted.
Secondly, do not go into the test hoping to get a good
grade, but rather go into it expecting to do well. If
you fear failure, failure is sure to come. However,
if you expect to do well, you will do well.
Remember that you have prepared for everything on the
test, there can be no surprises. All the nervous people
around you make this hard to do, but you need to go
into a test and tell it Hello, my name is Inigo
Montoya, you kill my father, prepare to die, and
then proceed to beat the test to a pulp.
Well in the words of Sonoa Hensley, there you have it.
It is the perfect outline on how to approach finals.
Follow it and it will do you well. Believe me, it has
not failed me yet.
Suffron is a senior accounting major from