November 25, 2013

A College Kid's Guide to Surviving Finals

This is a continuation of my “College Bound” series. Although school is already in session, I’m continuing the series under the general college topic. Read all throughout the year for more “College Bound” posts. I’ve previously discussed affordable dorm packagescheap textbookssaving moneywhat to do the summer before you leave for collegewhat you shouldn’t forget to packclothes you needgetting involved, having the best first week ever and staying safe in college

So I'm a little early on this one, but finals is right around the corner. Depending on your school, chances are your final exams are somewhere between two to three weeks away. But with thanksgiving break this week, we kind of only have a week or two to prepare for our finals. So, I wouldn't be Caroline if I didn't dish out some advice (like I even know what to do, but still..)

[one] start early
It's never too early to start studying for finals. Reviewing notes from class, reading up on topics you don't quite understand and doing practice exercises will only help you when it comes to doing well on finals. Ask your professor if your final is cumulative or non-cumulative, and then focus on the topics that are coming on your exam. 

[two] unplug yourself
Seriously, get off of Facebook, turn your iPhone on silent and ignore those Snapchats. The only way you're gonna do well is if you put 110% effort into your work. So browse through my list of a college student's must-have apps and find the ones that are gonna help you do well. I suggest SelfControl! It physically blocks all the sites that you have no mental self control to do. Trust me, you'll thank me later.

[three] get sleep
Getting sleep is one of the easiest ways to recharge and re-energize before finals. Studying while sleepy isn't probably the biggest no-no, and take it from experience - you'll get nothing done. Even if you do manage to study while tired, you're not gonna remember anything the day after. Plus, pulling all nighters does not help. The best way to do well and to get work done is to know your limits: know when you're too tired to function, and take that as a sign to go to bed. Waking up earlier if you go to bed earlier can help too, just don't wear yourself out or you may just sleep straight through your alarm for that 8am final. Be warned!

[four] hydrateHydration is key to doing well on finals. Without drinking eight glasses of water a day, you're guaranteed to have headaches and sleepiness throughout the day, and those are the last things you want when you're trying to focus on your Biological Anthropology final (ugh, trust me..)

[five] go to exam reviews and office hours
Your professors hold office hours and review sessions for the exam for a reason: take it!!! Seriously, these are basically easy ways to show that you're trying and that you want to do well, and who knows, it can make a difference!

[six] create your own study groups
If your class doesn't have a review or study group, create your own! Studying with some of your classmates can help you solidify what you already know, and help you learn some of the stuff you don't know or need help with. Studying in groups always helps when you need to change up your studying techniques, and if you invite 5-10 people from your class, you're guaranteed to learn new things!

[seven] memorization techniquesRepetition is key! Going over a topic in every possible way is going to help you remember it and help you succeed in the final exam. Depending on your learning style, you can create anagrams, songs and other tactics to help you. They really help - try singing definitions to popular tunes.

[eight] flashcards 
It wouldn't be a final exam without at least 100 flashcards. Making flashcards, though it's tedious, is an easy way to learn the material. Then reviewing it only solidifies what you already know, and guarantees you to do well.

[nine] find a quiet space
You're never gonna really learn until you unplug and remove yourself from distractions - including friends, the TV and roommates. So find a quiet study space to get your work done. The last thing you want is to be trying to remember definitions and someone walks in and starts talking. Then when you're in your exam and you're trying to remember that definition, all you're gonna think about is what that persons was telling you. FIND A QUIET SPACE. I can't stress it enough.

[ten] avoid "study drugs"I know it's tempting at times, especially in college and they're easily accessible (cause everyone knows that one guy..). Stay away from study drugs, they're only gonna do you harm at the end of the day - the last thing you want is to crash right before that big final. So trust me.. stay away.

So good luck with finals, college kids! Always remember to take some time for yourself and relax a little too - a little party never killed nobody.
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  1. This is a great list! I definitely agree with you about the office hours and exam reviews. Some of my harder classes (economics and accounting) had these and my professors sometimes gave us additional participation points for attending these and those points bumped up my borderline grades!

  2. This is a great list. I definitely agree with you about the exam reviews and office hours. I went to these all the time for my harder classes like economics and accounting and I had a few teachers give me additional participation points which helped my borderline grades! Effort really means a lot to some professors.


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