As students begin their dry-erase board countdowns for the end of the academic year, finals week is just days away from rearing its ugly head. Golden Rams will soon embark on their biannual journey of migrating east to the Francis Harvey Green Library, but here are some handy tips in order to stay afloat in the sea of textbooks and notecards. Do not think of the test as a final exam. The more importance one places on an exam, the more stressful studying will be. Stick to routine ways of studying such as using notecards, studying with classmates, re-typing the notes, etc.
Location, location, location. Finding the right place at which to study is very significant. As appealing as the sunny, grassy quad may seem, if Frisbees and guitar-players are major distractions, the location may not be ideal. Obviously, the library is normally an excellent choice, but keep in mind that everyone taking finals also thinks so.
Become best friends with a highlighter. Highlighting class notes is one of the most effective ways of minimizing the amount of work to be done, especially if a great deal of reading is involved. Highlight important topics a week or a few days before the exam, so skimming through notes right before the test is more helpful.
DO NOT CRAM. Procrastination may not harm one’s grades considerably during the academic year, but waiting to study until the night before a final exam spells trouble. Try to go over the material for 15-20 minutes each day of the week before the final.
The early bird catches the worm. According to Dartmouth College, one hour of daytime studying is equal to two hours of studying at night. For all of those night owls who only see a few hours of daylight, study the most challenging subjects first.
Take breaks. Studying for several hours at once can be exhausting, so be sure to take short breaks every 45 minutes or so to rest the mind. As tempting as Starbucks is, caffeine should only be used in moderation to avoid overloads, especially when studying at night.
Review previous quizzes/tests. Look over previously-taken assignments from class, and note which type of questions were most difficult. After an entire semester, students should realize what the professor expects and how he or she grades, so focus on improving past mistakes.
Get creative with memorization. Memorizing facts and dates is one of the toughest parts of exams, but creativity can make the process a lot easier. Use mnemonic devices, and conjure up silly sayings to remember material. For example, My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas is a mnemonic device young children use to remember the nine (well, eight) planets. Use personal talents when memorizing. Musical students can write a song, art students and visual learners can draw pictures, etc.
Visit professors during office hours. Take advantage of the time professors offer to go over unclear material or to express any concerns. Do not be nervous or embarrassed to ask for help-it shows one actually cares about his or her grade.
Take a pre-test. Students should ask themselves questions about notes instead of just reading the material. Be an active studier.
Sleep and eat. Be sure to get enough sleep (preferably eight hours) before any exam, and eat healthy foods to stay energized and alert. Also, chew gum during the test. Some scientists believe that chewing gum releases insulin, which enhances memory.
Carol Fritz is a first-year student at West Chester University. She can be reached at CF716002@wcupa.edu.