Don’t let finals spook you


Study, study, study! Review, review, review! Test after test after test only to end up with a mountain of stress, stress, stress. Every student knows about the horror that is finals week. However, the looming shadow of testing, doesn’t have to be so scary. With just a few simple changes and preparations, anybody can be ready to take on the final challenge.

When it comes to studying, many people wait until the week before or even the night before their test to study, but when it comes to being well-prepared for finals, it’s best to start as early as possible. It doesn’t have to be a ton of studying at one time, just little reviews here and there. In fact, study notes at the end of the day, then daily for one week, then at the end of the month, and then after six  months. Flash cards, mnemonic devices, songs and acronyms all are proven to increase memory retention. By studying and refreshing the information, the facts are guaranteed to stay fresh.

Another thing that increases memory retention is working in a distraction free environment. Find a place free of a ton of people, that is quiet and secluded. In a distraction-free environment the only thing there is to do, is focus. Nothing competes for the attention that should be focused on the notes. Phones should be on “Do Not Disturb” to ensure that social media and friends don’t interfere with study time. Once distractions have been eliminated, pop in some headphones, break out the pencils, pull out some notes and absorb that information without attention obstacles. 

As tempting as it can be to study for hours at a time once a distraction-free zone is found or to take breaks as much as possible in order to avoid confronting the brain work, it’s important to have an even balance of both. Too much studying without brain breaks can actually lead to forgetting facts while constant breaks lead to nothing getting accomplished. In order to guarantee a healthy balance it’s best to take a 5-15 minute break after about one hour and a 30 minute break every 2-4 hours. Get up to get some water, read a book or take a walk outside. Another way to take brain breaks without taking actual breaks is to switch subjects. If the brain’s tired of studying for biology maybe try studying English for a while that way a different part of the brain gets exercised. 

Lastly, the most important thing to do in order to prepare for finals is making sure to eat healthy and get some rest. A person can spend hours studying for a test, but if they don’t sleep or eat enough then they won’t have enough energy to perform well on the exam. Sleeping helps reset the brain, and eating provides fuel. In order to ensure good results make sure to get anywhere from 8-12 hours of sleep on the night before the test and remember to eat breakfast on the morning of. 

Finals doesn’t have to be a horror show. Start preparing and glancing over notes now to keep facts fresh. As the test dates get closer, find places quiet, distraction-free place to study, keep a good balance between breaks and work time and remember to eat and get plenty of rest. Doing these things will ensure that finals don’t spook you.