Final Exams Dos and Don’ts

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"How many more hours until I'm chugging eggnog with the fam?"

Finals week is probably the most daunting few days of your college career. Winter break is so close you can almost taste the gingerbread cookies in your mouth. But first you have to survive your Calculus exam. Four exams, three term papers and a presentation may seem like the impossible dream. But I promise, where there is a will (to get home and gorge yourself on home cooking and holiday cookies) there is a way.

Do use your time management skills to help lessen the stress of your workload. Plan out your days using your friendly school-provided calendar – yes, the one that I’m sure you tossed aside long ago – to map out your plan of attack. When you realize your end goal is attainable, the path to getting their seems less dreaded.

Don’t cram your studies into a series of all-nighters at the library. You will go stir-crazy and end up mindlessly watching videos of people falling on Youtube at 4:00 a.m.  Don’t be that person. Nobody likes that person. Your GPA won’t like that person.

Do use the nerds to your advantage. And by that I mean form study groups with your classmates. Five brains are better than one, especially if that one is my own. Having people to catch my mistakes has always been my saving grace. It can be yours too.

Don’t rely on energy drinks and your roommate’s Adderall prescription to get you through this week. Save yourself from an early heart attack and make sure to schedule in sleep. A good night’s sleep is actually beneficial to your studies, believe it or not. This is your body’s time to recuperate and regenerate. And if you’re lucky you’ll regenerate a few of the brain cells you lost during last weekend’s pre-finals booze-fest.

Do resist the urge to party on your days off. My school always designates one day for study, which means there are no finals scheduled on that day. Which also means that people tend to party the night before. It seems so right (especially with a half-bottle of tequila running through your bloodstream), but it’s oh so wrong. This is one week where you can’t afford to be hung-over because, while you can’t relive the party… you really can’t retake a final.

Don’t stress yourself out.  And don’t surround yourself with stressed out people. While you shouldn’t take studying for finals lightly, there’s a difference between over-achieving and over-doing it. Take a break and let off some steam.  This is one time when I can call chocolate my friend and not feel bad about it.

Do rejoice when your last exam is over! What’s done is done. And if you’ve followed my advice, you’ve got nothing to worry about. Except how you’re going to fit all those for-pleasure books into your two week break.

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