It’s the time of year when students camp at the library, worship caffeine and believe professors are out to get them. In other words, it’s finals time.
Elizabeth Boretz of UC Merced’s Student Advising and Learning Center and a few students who have managed to step away from their books have tips on how to stay focused and healthy through this final stretch. Their biggest secret: It’s all about getting an early start.
Finals preparation starts the first day of class – note-taking, active reading and keeping in touch with the professor through office hours, Boretz said.
Be sure to start studying early. Studying a little bit each day is much more effective then cramming the night before, added Michelle Comer, a biology major.
Boretz advises students that the weeks and days before finals are the time to go over everything you learned – re-read papers and comments by your professor. Go over past quizzes and mid-terms.
You can also visit with someone who is succeeding in the course to clear up confusions. Ask questions, Boretz admonished. It is never too late to review and grasp something that you did not understand fully. Study in groups and create practice tests for yourself.
Be confident. Before the test, stay away from peers who are afraid or speculating about how difficult it will be. Focus on how hard you have worked and on your goal of demonstrating how much you have accomplished by expanding your knowledge and ability to express new ideas.
I would say that tips for finals would be to try and get a lot of sleep, and stay calm and focused, said Samantha Bryant, a psychology major.
Boretz agreed, saying that students should go to sleep early the night before a test and wake up in time the next day to dress neatly and eat a healthy breakfast, seated. You will feel more comfortable at your exam if you take time to take care of yourself in the morning.
Students embarking on their first end-of-the-year finals as college students may be stressed out than most seasoned veterans, but Comer has just the trick:
Remember to take breaks and do something other than studying or it will drive you crazy, she said.