By Graham "GSM" Matthews
This weekly blog will document my firsthand experiences as a student at Endicott College. Additionally, I will attempt to offer advice to fellow college students or those looking to attend college down the line.
Yes, the most anticipated time of the year has finally arrived (and no, I am not talking about Christmas, as the previous sentence was merely a sarcastic statement). It's finals week! Or at least for college students anyway. I usually had my midterm exams at the end of January in high school, but you didn't already know, college is a completely different atmosphere. Once finals are over, you get to go home and enjoy a nice, long break for a month or possibly longer. It is a pleasant reward and something all college students should keep in mind while taking finals.
Finals are seen as the most stressful time of the year, and understandably so. With so many classes and so many exams in just a small period of time, it is easy to get stressed out. One thing I have learned about test taking in my day is that if you think you are going to fail an exam before you even take it, you have already failed. You need to have confidence. You need to be confident in your abilities that you will do well, and if you don't think you will do well, then study harder or try harder. It is as simple as that.
Some students may have already taken their finals, but I have coming up this week. Unlike most colleges, I don't get out until this Friday. Personally, I have no problem with staying a week later than everybody else (I am in no real rush to get home), but that might affect the morale of some students if they wish they would rather be home than be at school studying for finals. I may not know much about taking finals seeing how I am a freshman and all, but I do know a handful of helpful tips about test taking that could easily apply to finals. I have dealt far too many people in the last week that were stressed out over finals, so I figured offering some advice on the subject was only fitting.
Procrastinating. We all do it. Don't deny it. I have, too (and still do from time to time), so I am not excluding myself from this, either. However, if there was any one time not to procrastinate, it would be during finals. If you do procrastinate, you are just asking for trouble and will be forced to suffer the consequences later. Granted, some of you will probably procrastinate anyway knowing that you can, but I heavily advise you not to. The number one rule in test taking is to always arrive to the exam prepared and knowing the material. Whether that means studying for five hours or five minutes, you need to have some sort of idea of what the test is on in order to do well on it.
The amount of studying you do depends on who you are and what your personality is. Some people can study for mere minutes and still be able to absorb information and do extraordinarily well on the exam. Others can study for hours on end and still fail the test. By the time you are in college (or at least by this point in the semester), you should already have a pretty good idea of what your studying skills and how much you will need to study in order to pass the test.
As previously mentioned, let's not forget the fact that we are in the middle of December right now and Christmas is right around the corner! It is the most joyful time of the year after all, so enter any exam with an optimistic attitude. If your friends are already home for the holidays, don't think of it as a bad thing. Think of it as an opportunity to make more of an impact when you go home seeing how you have away from home longer than everyone else. Remember that you will be home in just a few days, so use that as your motivation to do well on your finals. No one wants to go home knowing they did poorly, so put forth your best in effort and you will get results, trust me.
Last but not least, don't complain about finals. Everybody complains about something sometimes, but whining about taking a test is the lamest excuse in the book. Will complaining about the final you have to take first thing on Monday morning make you do any better on the exam? No, it will not. So, don't waste your time stressing out that you aren't going to do well, because by that point, you have already failed. Not only have you failed the test, but you have failed yourself. Use your time wisely during finals week, make wise decisions and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel: the holidays. Oh, and good luck!