So Halloween and Thanksgiving are over. The holiday decorations are already covering every store you visit and you are dreaming about getting that new iPad mini with the retina display. What you probably have not already thought about is your final exams. Now, I find myself guilty of this. I am totally with you. I love Thanksgiving and the holidays but having finals right after a nice break is not ideal. However, we got to do what is necessary to pass those classes! And we can do it…with just a little bit of help. When I came to Mason, I realized that exam week was different from high school. See, in high school, finals are no big deal. In college, finals are worth so much of our grade, depending on the class. What no one told me is that studying for college finals needs a lot more thought and care than we put into our high school finals. So what can we do to take Finals Week seriously with little stress and anxiety? After a bit of research and a ton of experience, I have compiled an abbreviated version of the best study tips to help you get through finals.
- Count your way forward: Start studying the day those study guides are handed out. Instead of allotting a certain number of days for a particular subject, always start studying a little bit each day instead of cramming an entire science like biology into three days.
- “Triage” that study time: One of the biggest mistakes I made my freshman year was that I did not think about the difficulty of each subject. I allotted my study time equally and did not really think about the subject material. Study more for the classes you tend to struggle in and study a little bit less for those easier classes.
- Go to the professor’s office hours: Professors are required to have office hours. This is the perfect opportunity to go over difficult concepts and ask them what the core focus of your studying should be.
- Shed some time commitments: No one wants to hear this, but sometimes you have to give up some time with your extracurricular activities in order to make the grade, especially when you are involved in two or more clubs.
- Stick with it and do not panic: Pace your time on the exam. Do not rush through it. Just because some people finish within a half an hour does not mean you should rush! Take a deep breath and thoroughly read each question.
Thinking of a place to study on campus? The Off-Campus Finals Study Lounge is coming! Join us in George’s in the JC from December 11-16, 24 hours a day. Until then, check out our new list of study spots on campus: http://offcampus.gmu.edu/where-to-study/
– Rachel Steiner, Off-Campus Advisor