Proper prep for finals is key

Shafinaaz Kamrul

With winter approaching a little too slowly to sunny California this year, Pierce College’s Fall semester is reaching an end and final examinations are knocking on the door.

Finals mean good and bad news.

Who wants to be at school way into the holiday season? Nobody. This means finals are good.

Who wants to see the grades that will show up on your online transcript five days after the finals? Not a lot of us. This means finals are bad.

In any subject or situation where we are bound to have so much confusion, we should always prepare early. Same with finals.

Don’t rush and study everything the day before the finals. Even though most instructors drop one of the tests, a lot of them tend to not drop the finals fearing that if the finals could be dropped, a lot of the students would take an early winter break and not show up for the last class at all.

Start studying at least a week before the exam day. You should give yourself more time depending on the subject that you are taking and your ability to grasp the materials for that class.

Cramming the day before the finals will not do the trick for most of us.

What it would do, however, is cause you to have a panic attack and disable you from studying.

“Just like a marathon runner who trains regularly for months, students should hit the books on a daily basis, or on a weekly basis,” said Ed Burke from eFit.

“Exercise, healthy eating and studying should be a way of life for a college student.”

Taking time and studying for a longer period of time also lets the brain absorb the materials in a slower, but more stable manner. Feeding a little information at a time helps better than clogging all at once.

Eat properly. Going to the exam hall with an empty stomach and hearing your stomach make funny noises is a very disturbing thing and will only distract you throughout the exams.

“Stay away from high-fat food. They can make you sluggish,” said a study done at Medaille College’s Academic Skills Center. “High protein food as fish and chicken promote alertness.”

The same study suggested that students should stay away from too much caffeine, sugar-sweetened sodas and candy to avoid “sugar crashes” and to keep them from having stomach sickness.

Highlight the main points as you go through the materials with a bright marker.

The day before the exams you can review just these for the last time before you go to sleep.

Highlighting will help because the morning of the exam, there is not much time to go through the entire book trying to find that one important bit of information you know you are forgetting to review.

The night before your finals get good sleep – and that applies for each of the subjects that you will be sitting for.

If there is still material left to study, wake up early in the morning and go through it, instead of staying up all night and trying to grasp the concepts.

Showing up at the final session of the class with a sleepy brain and tired body doesn’t help too many people concentrate, pass or get good grades in the exams.

Make sure to go through the instructor’s web page or the guide given at the beginning of each semester by the instructors at least a week before the finals. Often times students forget that there is a small paper or something else due on the very day of the final.

For example, Larry Kushner’s Civil Rights Law class has a term paper due with the finals, Jim Dawson’s Political Science classes have online tests to be finished before students can sit for the finals, etc.

Check your teacher’s requirement, if any.

Going to class on the final day without fulfilling these prerequisites may disqualify you from sitting for the test.

Going through the class syllabus will help remind you of the instructor’s grading system, which in turn will help calculate at what position you stand right now in the class before you start preparing for the final exams.

The syllabus usually also has a list of the materials that you need to go through before the exams, and can act as your checklist.

Please show up on time for the finals. If possible show up 20 minutes early.

Eager students would already be in front of the classroom and if you have not been studying in a group already, you can discuss the main points about the final with them before the final show.

Make sure you know the time for the finals.

The Pierce College Web site and The Roundup both publish the timings, but match it with your class timings because depending on when your class starts the published time may be a few minutes off the actual time.

Talk to each instructor to make sure you have the correct, accurate time.

All in all, don’t stress over it. It does not matter how bad it seems, believe me there is probably someone out there with a worse situation.

Give it your best shot because this is your last shot- and cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Happy studying!


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