Blehh! So I have two days of class left in this semester before it’s time to start writing finals. At this point I have finished learning the course content and the class time I have left will be designated review sessions. Sometimes these review classes can be helpful, but other times people like to ask simple questions that can be answered by simply opening your text book or looking through you class notes.
Once classes are finished it’s time to get down to the hard core studying, right? Yes! But that only works if you have a forgiving exam schedule that allows you a sufficient amount of time to study for each exam. This term I am not so fortunate. I have four of my finals in the first four days of the 2 week exam period and a 7 day break before my last final. Needless to say, I started studying last week. I was lucky to be finished with my midterms and assignments on March 14th, which gave me more than enough time study while class was still in session. Although I have used this time to study for my first few exams, I have not been able to get into the “final exam studying mindset.” Hopefully by the end of the day on Friday I will be able to get myself in the zone of studying like a crazy person.
This is not the first time I have had a series of exams like this. Initially a series like this causes lots of stress, frustration. It also brings up the big question of, “how am I supposed to study for everything in such a short time?” The most effective way I have found is starting early and switching your subject of focus every day or few days. To ensure I don’t miss studying for any classes, I also like to create a rough schedule of which subjects I am going to study for on certain days. This allows for enough time to study for each subject and helps to avoid cramming for a subject that may have been pushed aside. We all have exams that require less studying which allows for more time to look at other, more difficult course material. Once I have gone through all or most of my material, I use the day before my exam to go over everything once, focusing on the areas that are most difficult.
I am no stranger to stress during exam time. When I get into the zone of studying, I am able to focus my attention for hours at a time. I usually start to stress the day before the exam if I feel like I have to cram. In the weeks and days before my finals I reduce stress levels by taking breaks to make lunch or dinner and by engaging in some form of exercise. Exercise for stress relief doesn’t always mean taking an hour out of your study time to go to they gym. During my final review day I find that leaving my room to go to the library or to walk around the block beneficial in different ways. First it gives your body a break from sitting hunched over a table, allowing it to move. It also gives your eyes time to relax and your brain time to retain the information that you have been studying. Giving your mind and body a break form studying is most effective when you focus on what you are doing during the break, rather than worrying about the time you are taking away from study.
Final exam time is stressful but it’s not the end of the world. When I feel completely overwhelmed, I take a minute to think about how close I am to being done. I remind myself that I am in the final push to the end of the year and there is no reason to slow down. Summer will soon be here and I will be at home enjoying my vacation time.