Don't let the stress of final exams trip you up and make your life difficult. This finals week, get a leg up by avoiding the five most common mistakes made by college students.
Avoiding Finals Week Mistakes
Finals week is a hectic, stressful time. It's easy to get a little too far into the academic weeds by focusing on the grades you want or the materials you're studying. These approaches can prevent you from grasping the overall finals week picture. Here are five common finals week mistakes that you should be careful to avoid if you want to ace your finals and retain your sanity.
1. Failing to Have a Plan
Going into your finals study sessions without a plan is the first big mistake you want to avoid making. Chances are, you have three, four, or even five finals to prepare for, all of which cover different topics and require different time commitments and types of work. If you just start studying without a particular plan, you'll end up aimless, overwhelmed, and stressed by all of the work ahead of you. Instead, start your studying process by planning exactly which classes you're studying for and when. It might even motivate you to keep the studying going when the going gets rough. After all, there's nothing more frustrating than an unfinished to-do list.
2. Memorizing Instead of Learning
There's a difference between memorizing information and actually learning it, understanding it, and applying it. It's easier to memorize information, as this approach requires fewer modes of learning; however, memorization makes it much easier to forget what you learned later on.
To make sure that you're learning (rather than memorizing), prioritize interacting with your information in many different ways. Read about it. Write about it. Do practice problems. Teach the information to somebody else. Draw a relevant picture, chart, or graph. Sleep on it for a few days and then revisit the material again. This way, you'll actually learn that valuable information you're working so hard and paying so much money for to acquire.
3. Going It Alone
Studying might seem like an individual endeavor, but we believe it's a mistake to approach finals with that mindset. Instead, you should lean on all of the resources you have available to you to make sure that you have as much help as possible in order to be successful. For example, you can use tutors, study groups, study guides, and faculty office hours. Your teaching assistants (TAs) might even offer group study sessions specifically for final exams. You don't have to study in a vacuum, so take advantage of as many of these resources as possible. It might take a village to raise a child, but it takes a whole university to ace a final.
4. Eating Fast Food
When your number one priority is cramming as much information into your brain as possible before a challenging deadline, it's easy to forget about other important things, like your health. As tempting as it might be to fuel your late-night study sessions with fast food, soda, and potato chips from the vending machine, this is a big mistake. You'll flood your system with simple sugars that will inevitably lead to an energy crash. Plus, you don't want a stomach ache to distract you while you're taking your finals. Thankfully, there are plenty of convenient health food options these days, like protein bars and raw vegetables, so put down that ramen!
5. Forgetting the Little Things
Like we mentioned earlier, it's easy to get lost in the academic weeds with the material you're studying and forget about other important things. The night before each final, make sure you've planned for everything, like:
- Where and when your final will be held
- How you're going to get to the exam location
- What you'll eat for breakfast
Additionally, make sure that you have all of the necessary materials (blue books, pencils, pens, calculators, etc.). Heck, why not even make a checklist to be sure that you'll remember everything?
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