The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


How to survive final exam week

Students returned from the Thanksgiving holiday break and are finishing up those last papers, but they are not finished yet. Students must first endure final exam week before they call it quits.

Some students may have diligently studied three days before that test, and others may have opted to party the night before. No matter how each student spent their time during the semester, it is time to buckle down and focus on final exams.

Everybody has different techniques that work for them. Some choose to start studying early, others cram at the last minute and some study in groups. Nevertheless, having a plan, whatever it may be, is necessary to confront finals. Here are a few tips to survive final exam week.

Begin preparing for exams by writing down the day and time of each exam and allow for the necessary amount of time to study for each course. Start studying early and allow large blocks of time for studying. Students should try to cover all necessary material before the night before the exam.

Studying for long periods of time can leave students exhausted, so make sure to take breaks. Many students find alternating studying for a few hours and taking a break the best way to study.

“I like to start studying a few hours and then go visit a friend for a while. I need my breaks when I study for finals,” said sophomore advertising major Wendi Leggitt.

Procrastination has become one of the greatest problems among college campuses. Everybody does it. People get home from school, check their e-mail, watch Oprah, talk to the family at home, check people’s away messages, get coffee on the way to a job or activity, come back home and talk to a high school friend on Instant Messenger, and then they must face a pile of work at 10 p.m. Students need to avoid procrastination at all costs during exam week because time is the most useful asset students have.

“I am the queen of procrastination. After I catch up with all my reality shows on VH1 and MTV, put music on my iPod, take a bubble bath and chat with the family, I end up having to do all my work in one day,” said sophomore journalism major Brooke Truesdale.

To avoid procrastination, students should follow their prepared study schedule and modify where they study. Students must find a place with minimal distractions and be prepared to study. Students should ensure all proper supplies are at hand to avoid wasting time going back and forth to get a pen or a stapler. Also, students must avoid rooms with friends, television, radio, The Facebook or any other distraction.

“I definitely have to stay away from The Facebook during the reading days because I will definitely fail my exams otherwise,” Leggitt said.

Study groups can also be helpful to students as long as the group doesn’t function as a distraction. In groups, students have the opportunity to compare notes and test each other on possible exam material. However, students should beware of studying with friends.

“I cannot study with friends because I will not get anything done. I like to go find a room in the library and lock myself in there,” Truesdale said.

Besides studying and avoiding distractions, students must properly take care of themselves to prepare for exams. They should also try to avoid staying up all night because it can have unfavorable effects such as poor concentration and mood.

In addition to avoiding sleep loss, students should find the best way to manage their stress. Stress causes many students to panic, which can prevent from making the most of their time studying.

Students should figure out the best way to cope with the excess tension from exam week. Some students like to release their nervous energy through exercise and by taking time to relax.

“I love going to the gym when I’m stressed out,” Leggitt said.

Students should also stay away from extremely anxious people because anxiety can be infectious. Everybody has those friends who constantly sigh and tug at their hair while worrying about an upcoming exam. Students should stay away from these people during exam week to avoid becoming too stressed.

Students can create a reward system as another way to deal with stress. During exam week, students like to reward themselves with a movie or a visit to a friend after an extended study session.

“I like to go see a movie at the theater with my girlfriends after a long day of studying during finals week,” said psychology major Katie Brubaker.

On the night before the exam, students should go over what they learned while studying during the previous days. The night before is not the best time to learn new material. Key concepts and terms are the best things to review the night before an exam.

A final exam can determine whether a student receives an A or a B in a course, which makes studying essential. If students can find their best studying technique, manage stress and avoid distractions, it can assure survival during final exam week.

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