Are you ready for finals week? … What was that? The sound of crickets chirping before an inevitable existential crisis ensues? You’re not alone. Keep reading for a few tips from a fellow college student on how to kick ass during finals week.
Personally? I couldn’t be more ready for my final tests. For starters, let me just preface this by stating it has little to nothing to do with any of the following tips.
Currently, I’m a Liberal Arts major on my sophomore year at a community college. My degree is essentially built upon electives. As you can imagine, professors might find it kind of difficult to structure a final around basket weaving – but I guess nothing’s impossible. I’d to think the students enrolled in Underwater Basketweaving at the Reed College of Portland and the University of California are currently pulling their
hair fibers out over the intricacies of weaving underwater. Perhaps they’re spending this weekend cramming terminology such as base, stakes, spokes, rib, and weaver.
While only three out of the four courses I enrolled in this semester have a final – one of which, I’m not even required to take – I know far too many students who are practically falling apart at the seams over the impending doom that awaits them.
Whether you’re majoring in underwater basket weaving or rocket science, I’m here to lay down a few ways you can kick ass during finals week.
How to Kick Ass During Finals Week
Never Underestimate the Power of Sleep
Maybe this is a little hypocritical coming from someone who practically sustains their life off a three hour nap taken in the evening an an hour nap just before class starts, but you should never – and I mean NEVER – underestimate the power of sleep.
Research published by the Sleep Research Unit in the Department of Psychology confirmed the severe cognitive impairments of both short term and long term sleep deprivation. Not only will your body slip into microsleeps (even if you flood your body with caffeine), sleep deprivation impedes your short term memory and attention span. How on earth are you supposed to efficiently study if you can’t focus – let alone, if you can’t remember what you’re even going over.
It might seem a little inappropriate to brush up on your mindfulness techniques when you have three and a half months worth of fucking off in class to make up for that will ultimately make or break the outcome of your final, but burning yourself out is no way to prepare.
After measuring the cognitive effects of stress, researcher Carmen Sandi concludes that stress affects your memory and reasoning.
Your mind isn’t the only thing ravaged by adrenaline and other hormones that take over during periods of stress. WebMD has a number of physical symptoms listed among the emotional and behavior effects, including changes in appetite, digestive issues, an increase in headaches, difficulty sleeping, aches, as well as pains.
Furthermore, researchers at the Rockefeller University correlated stress with an increased likelihood of developing inflammatory diseases due to it’s interference with the body’s ability to regulate inflammation.
So take a step outside, do a little yoga, meditate, listen to your favorite song, indulge in your favorite treat, pet a dog. Not only will it improve your studies, it may just save your life in the long run.
Stock up on Healthy Snacks
On top of the physical discomfort of hunger, it also severely affects your attention span and arithmetic abilities.
The American Academic of Pediatrics studied the effects of food insufficiency and malnutrition on elementary school-aged children. Their research found hunger greatly affected the arithmetic and social abilities of these little bundles of joy.
In an article titled All I saw was the Cake: Hunger Effects on Attentional Capture by Visual Food Cues published in the journal Appetite found that hungry participants were far more sensitive to visual food cues, implying that all we can focus on when we’re hungry is getting our hands on some good grub – so get to snacking!
Study Tips – for Now and the Future
While you can’t go back in time and kick yourself for binge watching cringe compilations or studying finals memes instead of studying for your actual finals, there are a few tips to keep in mind for the future that you could possibly hone in on over the next few days, as well.
Take Advantage of Your Resources
As a college student, you are entitled to a plethora of resources. Don’t let these slip through your finger tips! Waltz around the library on campus. It’s also a good idea to glance over the databases that overflow with scholarly articles exclusive to community colleges and universities alike.
It’s also worth asking your teacher whether or not the final is open book. (Hopefully) your professors aren’t monsters. After all, they had to have been students too, at some point. Some professors are notorious for taking pity on their student’s broken souls, while others are sick of yielding class upon class of abysmal test results. If your professor hasn’t already mentioned whether or not it’s an open final, take initiative and ask.
Actually Utilize Your Notes
First of all – take notes! Whether you’re old school – like me – and prefer to write ’em by hand, or you’re a tech savvy individual who prefers the environmentally friendlier route of typing up your notes, just get something from the class down. Even if your notebook resembles more of an art gallery or sketchbook graffiti’d in rough doodles, at least your drawings might jog something from your memory.
With all of the stimuli thrown our way in contemporary societies, there’s just no way for anyone to remember their classes without jotting a few things down. Edgar Dale’s Cone of Learning depicts that we as individuals only remember 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, and 30% of what we see. By taking notes, you are engaging in the course materials and increasing the likelihood that some of it may actually stick.
It’s not enough to just take notes – you’ve got to actually go over them, as well. As a former homeschool student, a Liberal Arts major, and a goofball who actually enjoys school, I’ve always found a level of fun in compiling my notes from the school day on a summary page for easy reference. However, this might be a little overkill for the average student who doesn’t get some sort of masochistic satisfaction from studying.
At the very least, I recommend glancing over your notes the night before as well as minutes before any upcoming tests – cough cough – your finals.
June 28th, 2017Journal Tour // June – September 2017 – June 2017
I believe math is proof humans are very bored & naturally obsessed with trying ot invent a purpose for their potentially “pointless” life.
I love math. I also love journalism. I think I should minor in it.
Although I, the former homeschool student, Liberal Arts major, and education enthusiast couldn’t be more ready for finals week for reasons almost completely unrelated to the tips above (although if we’re being completely real out here, I’ve basically just given you an outline to follow in order to stay alive), I’m here to represent all my little homies and little gobies just tryna make it through finals week without spiraling into an existential crisis.
Rest up, snack up, and take it easy. Take advantage of your resources and go over any notes you may have scribbled and scrawled throughout the semester. I have faith you’ll kick ass during your finals.
Hey, and even if you don’t? There’s always next semester!
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