By the time you hit your senior year of college, you may be an expert in terms of toughing out final exams, but still want to fortify your arsenal of college final survival tactics. Or, perhaps you are brand new to this higher education thing and have no clue (yet). Heck – maybe you’re in your senior year and still have no clue!
Fear not. Here are a few tips to surviving the apocalypse we call “College Finals”.
Make sure you are clear on your exam material, location, time, and date. If you have any questions about the course or the exam, ask. Set your alarms, and failsafe alarms, if you think you need them. For example, if you are someone who might fall back asleep after your alarm, arrange for someone to call you to make sure you are up. This way, at least you know you have exam day covered and can concentrate on studying.
By now you probably have a good idea how you study best. If you study well with other people, arrange study groups. If you tend to lose yourself in the studying and forget about the world around you, schedule things like meals and exercise. If you know you need discipline, give yourself small but reasonable “rewards” for milestones – going to a movie tonight only if you’ve finished Sections 24-30, for example.
Your Body is a Temple
No lifting required – but you should ensure that you still engage in regular physical activity. Sometimes students – exercise junkies and sloths alike – get so caught up in cramming that they hole themselves up and only move around to get food or go to the bathroom. Make sure you take some time to at least go for a brisk walk once or twice a day. That whole mind-body connection thing means your brain will function better if you do good things for your body.
In that vein, make sure you eat properly. Stuffing your face with potato chips and soda will almost guarantee a “crash” later on, and your cognitive abilities won’t be what you need to properly digest and memorize all that information. You don’t have to go Paleo or anything. Just make sure your meals are balanced, your snacks are healthy, and you drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Also, make sure you get sleep – you’ll be useless as a zombie.
It is undoubtedly stressful when finals are approaching. This is regardless of whether you’ve been a diligent student or left it until the very end. Whether you learn breathing exercises or meditation techniques to calm yourself down when you start to get anxious, or incorporate stress management into your fitness routine – yoga or Tai Chi, for example – make sure you monitor how you are feeling and work to stay calm and collected as you study. Practicing mindfulness will also do wonders when you are freaking out.
Avoid Time Sucks
If you know you have certain “weaknesses” and are prone to getting sucked in to an activity that is not studying – binge watching shows, playing video games, or even working out too often, for example, make sure you put reasonable limits on those activities. Don’t deny yourself, or they’ll be even more tempting, but make sure you put some sort of time limit on them and enforce them.
As an example, some people hop onto Facebook to check statuses, then drift to Twitter to see what other people are doing, then meander onto Instagram to see what those contacts are up to… and hours later, they realize they could have reviewed an entire unit. In addition to the time limit, get an app that allows you to aggregate and post to your various social media accounts so it just takes one stop instead of 8. Boom. Now you know all is well in the world (or not), so get back to the books!