If those two words strike fear in your heart, you are not alone. Final exams are stressful for almost everyone. While a little nervousness is not harmful, worrying too much can be counterproductive.
One thing successful people learn early is that “slow and steady” really does win the race. There is no substitute for going to class every day, taking comprehensive notes, completing all assignments, reading your textbook regularly, and getting a tutor if you need one. Staying on task throughout the semester takes determination but it will give you a good foundation, and that will make reviewing much easier at finals time. You might even find that your grade is so high going into your final that you only need to score 65 or 70 percent to get an A in the course. Now that’s a stress-reliever all by itself, isn’t it?
Here are some steps you can take to alleviate unhealthy anxiety and replace it with the confidence and exhilaration that go hand in hand with knowing your stuff and doing well on your tests.
1) If your teacher schedules review sessions, attend them. If he gives you a review packet, complete it. These are opportunities to get into his head, so to speak, and learn the material he wants you to know. You might even get a few extra points for your effort!
2) Determine how much time you have to study, know the value of your exam, and develop a plan. Is this a cumulative exam, worth 30 percent of your course grade? If so, you might need to start reviewing several days before the test.
3) Avoid distractions like your phone, TV, computer, and friends who are procrastinating.
4) Review your syllabus. Then organize, review and re-copy your lecture and lab notes.
5) Re-read your textbook and zero in on key terms. Write them down. Complete chapter review questions.
6) Make flashcards and quiz yourself. Better yet, have someone else quiz you. Explaining concepts to another person helps you learn the material.
7) Research and outline the answers to essay questions your teacher has provided.
8) Start a study group with really smart people.
9) If there are concepts or problems you still do not understand, get help! Ask your teacher if he/she has a list of tutors.
10) It is important to take breaks in between review sessions. Go outside and get exercise. Take deep, calming breaths and then release them slowly. Get away for 30 minutes and grab a snack.
The more you study, the more confident you will be. Over-preparation is not overkill; it helps you recall information more quickly during your exams.
You should also get plenty of rest before final exams. Research shows that people assimilate information when they sleep.
Finally, believe in yourself. Take time to give yourself a pep talk. Visualize yourself doing well on the test. If you have worked hard, your grade will likely reflect your effort.
For additional test-taking tips or to request tutoring assistance, contact The College Blueprint, LLC at 949-856-1221.