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How to ACE your finals

Sydney Hembrough, Staff Writer

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As this semester comes to a close, many exciting things are to come. The holidays, a much needed break, snowy weather, and whether we like it or not, finals. If you are in denial about this scary time of year, you’re not the only one. Even if we try to avoid studying, we cannot avoid the inevitable fact that we will eventually be tested over all of this semester’s knowledge. I know that it can be overwhelming and many times frightening, but I have gathered some of the best tips to end the semester on the best note (and hopefully the best possible GPA).

  1. Stop procrastinating.

I have been there, believe me. It is the night before a big test, and all you have done is complete the study guide using your notes. Finals are different, though. JUST doing the study guide usually doesn’t do it. Also, there is normally some material that you didn’t even realize you learned about. So, do not wait until the last possible minute to get your ducks in a row. Start today.

  1. Organize your folders/binders.

It is very hard to study when you don’t know what you are to be studying. The first step in this process is (or should always be) organizing your papers, notes, assignments, quizzes, etc. Personally, I like to go back through my materials and separate them by chapter or unit. I put all of the notes, assignments, tests, and activities for each chapter with the corresponding chapter. This allows me to go back through everything in an organized manner and decide what I do and do not remember and what I need to look back at.

  1. Know your learning style.

For me, I LOVE making notecards. This helps me visualize the information while taking the final. However, this may not work for you. Everyone learns differently, and it is important to understand how you learn best. For me, I am a visual learner. I can’t just complete the study guide and read over it. I have to write things over and over again to remember them. Some people learn better through listening or maybe even doing. For those types of learners, my method of note cards may not work. Also, as much as we like to have study dates with our friends, it is imperative that we realize that the way our friends study may not be the most beneficial for us, and these study dates might become too social.

  1. Set goals for yourself.

Setting goals has been one of the most motivating strategies I have tried. I like to schedule my study times and have goals for each session. For example, I may have a goal to get all of the distributed study guides finished by one date and note cards made by another. It is also important to have a grade goal in mind, but don’t get too stuck on the “I only have to get a ___% to keep my grade in the class.” When you have a motivated mindset, you are bound to succeed.

  1. Relax.

As I have said over and over again, a grade does not define you. While we all want to do well on final exams, don’t let them consume your life for the next two weeks. Don’t over study because that will make you go insane; trust me, I have been there. Take breaks in your study times and do something that you enjoy every once in awhile. By all means, don’t avoid studying all together, but understand that self-care is still very important.

Finals can be a “make or break” time for many. It is important to have a plan in mind with both short and long term goals to reach along the way. With the help of these five tips, you should be set up for success. Keep in mind that what works for one person may not impact you or your grade in the same way. It is time to take a deep breath, study, and get the grade you want. Best of luck!

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How to ACE your finals