Blog: Finals Week
By Enrique Torres
My name is Enrique Torres and I was born in Miami, Florida. I am a senior at Florida International University, majoring in public relations, with a minor in communication skills. In my spare time, I enjoy creating/editing graphics, writing and audio editing.
Possibly the most stressful time during your semester, apart from your first week as a freshman, is finals week. You have no idea if your classes’ finals will be easy or impossibly difficult. Nevertheless, these exams can be worth anywhere from 10 to 50% of your grade (in my case, it has usually been about 30%).
Therefore, performing poorly on final exams can be detrimental to your overall grades—informing yourself about them is key to avoiding the stress that comes with finals week.
My number one rule for anything school related is to page through your syllabi the first day of every semester. This will save you the headaches of having a disorganized mental schedule of final exams (please read my previous blog about starting your freshman year on the right foot).
For example, some professors have, let’s say, four exams a semester, but the lowest one is dropped. If you do well in your first three exams, you might not even have to take a final! Right after your third exam, you can focus on completing remaining assignments for that class and/or studying for other finals.
Also, some classes have a cumulative final exam—that is, everything that was taught during that entire semester is “fair game” for your final. Making a note of this can help you plan out how long you need to study for before the exam date.
The most obvious component for passing a final exam is to study.
A key to studying the proper material is to show up to class about a week before the exam will take place. Why? A lot of professors (though not all, unfortunately) like to dedicate a few classes to reviewing for the exam.
Contrary to popular belief, professors want students to pass the exam, so they tend to narrow down the material they’ve selected to test you on. Getting these notes can surely help you compact your study guide and help you focus on specific material.
Creating a study guide while reading a textbook is, in my case, the best way to memorize and understand everything needed for an exam. Give yourself time to figure out how you best excel in certain situations and with different studying habits.
Also, don’t hesitate to start a study group in your class—when it comes to studying, five heads are better than one. One’s knowledge of a subject can aid another person’s vague grasp.
In grade school, materials such as pencils, exam booklets, and erasers are provided for students.
However, that is not always the case for postsecondary schools.
A lot of the classes you’ll be a part of will have hundreds of students—can you imagine how stressful it’d be for a professor to individually hand out exam materials?
It is best to bring your own #2 pencil (preferably two), eraser, exam booklet and scantron, unless told otherwise. You’ll not only be prepared, but will have more time to take the exam compared to students who have to ask around the classroom for an extra pencil.
The day before the exam, quickly review the study guide you’ve made and relax. Eat, take a shower, and go to bed early. Being well rested will help you with test-anxiety and boost your confidence.
Then, once you’ve taken the exam, don’t overwhelm yourself with doubt about your performance. What’s done is done; if you’ve followed a good study regime, you should have nothing to worry about.
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