Making the odds ever in your favor during finals

The impending threat

It’s probably the most feared word in any college student’s vocabulary: finals week!  Yes, there is a solution to surviving finals, and no, it’s not a lot of beer.

Simply put, there is no way to avoid finals week. Sure, you can try just not going to class and hoping your instructors don’t notice, but that usually doesn’t work. Remember, your teachers have all been college students themselves, and they know all the tricks used to avoid finals. So you may as well just straighten up and face your finals head on.

Luckily, even if you haven’t been studying for the past 16 weeks, there are still strategies you can use to prepare yourself so you can score well on your finals and hopefully pass with a respectable grade.

The strategies:
Don’t panic. Stressing out right now is the worst thing you can do. If you’re feeling scared, take some time to do some deep breathing and remind yourself it’s just another test. Also, keep in mind, finals are not the sole determination of your grade. Participation, homework and quizzes all count.

Use your study guide. Study guides differ from instructor to instructor. Some may only contain a list of general concepts the final will cover. Others may go into more detail. Regardless, get it and use it. If you have instructors who haven’t provided you with a study guide for the class, ask them for one.

Make flash cards: This might seem like a lot of work, but flash cards can really help you when you study. Get yourself a pack of 3”x5” cards in different colors and on each of them, write one thing you will need to know for the final. Carry your flash cards with you and whenever there is a spare moment or two, pull them out and review. Ten minutes at a time will help.

Get a study buddy: Sometimes, just like working out, you won’t feel motivated to study. When this happens, a friend or classmate you’ve partnered up with can help you to hit the books.

Study in 20 minute sessions: No, this does not mean study for 20 minutes and you’re done for the rest of the day. When you study, take a five or ten minute break for every 20 minutes you study. This will keep your mind sharp and focused while studying.

Teach the subject to someone else: This goes with number four above. We tend to remember 20 to 30 percent of what we read or hear, but remember 70 to 90 percent of what we teach. That’s because more of the brain is active while teaching. And you thought you’re middle school grammar teacher was brain dead while she was droning on and on about participles and prepositions.

Get a good night’s sleep: Your brain needs at least a good seven hours of sleep each night to rest and repair itself. Make sure you follow a set sleep schedule so you won’t be hazy going into your finals. You can stay up late to play video games and watch television over the break.

 Eat well-balanced meals: Now, I’m not saying you have to swear off the junk food completely, but healthy eating is a good idea right now. Fruit, especially when you crave something sweet, veggies, lean meats and whole grains will give you energy and keep you from feeling fatigued throughout the day. If you have a morning final, eat a breakfast which is protein based as that will keep you from being hungry later. Eggs and yogurt are good choices, though not necessarily at the same time.

Don’t stress during the exam: If you come across a question you don’t know the answer to, move on and come back to it later.

Don’t bully, bribe or beg your instructor: Attempting to bully your instructors will get you arrested for harassment, attempting to bribe your instructors is a severe violation of Crowder’s honor code and will get you expelled, and begging will cause your instructors to take no pity or give you extra-credit.