Refocusing for exams: How to make the best of the last week

Illustrated by Carli Molinelli
Illustrated by Carli Molinelli

By: Matthew Balsinger

It’s hard to believe this week is the last one of the semester.  For most of us, that means it’s time for cramming.

One thing we often tell ourselves before the new semester begins is to keep up with all the work as the semester progresses and to not fall behind in anything or procrastinate until the last possible moment. Despite the pre-semester coaching we give ourselves, it usually ends up the same. Though many of us have some catching up to do, it is also very important to keep in mind several key tips to succeeding in this final week.

First, it is important to sit down and prioritize what still needs to be done. Obviously, projects must be completed first and studying for exams is a close second. The bit of advice that might come across as surprising is when studying for the actual tests themselves, a good strategy is to start with the classes you are not struggling with.

Starting with the classes you are doing well in can help you with confidence so that you’re eager to stick with studying. If you start out with the difficult stuff, you might become so discouraged with how far you have fallen behind that you might give up all together, which would be disastrous for the classes you are already doing well in.

The second bit of advice, and probably most important, is to make sure to get enough rest and to eat a healthy breakfast; and pop-tarts and a coke does not qualify as healthy.

Countless studies have shown that the most well-fed and well-rested students are those who succeed best on tests. In college, there seems to be this rumor that all-nighters will somehow miraculously help students to catch up on the material; however, this is not the case. The end result of pulling an all-nighter is destroying your concentration because of your lack of sleep.

Eating healthy and getting rest is the most important out of any advice you can get for finals because it helps you to maintain your immune system. Getting sick during exam week is just about the worst thing that can happen to a student whose head is already slipping beneath the water of academic success.

Remember these tips and best of luck on finishing up these last few weeks. Keep the goal in mind; good grades makes for a very happy beginning to a long winter break!