Finals, Oh Finals!

When the semester winds down, we all know students dread final exams the most. They are long, hard to study for, and require mental stamina that one has not exhibited throughout the whole season of school. However, there are things a student at the University of Illinois can do to make this time of the year as tolerable as possible.

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First, a student can use a method I call “trickle studying.” That is the act of reviewing small topics each day in the week or so before final exams. An example would be reading notes on chapters 1-3 in a 20-chapter class in one day a week before the final and keep doing a similar thing each day for each necessary class. Doing so allows for you to have maximum focus and allows for maximum retention of the material in that period of time, due to the small quantity. It also gives you a chance to ask questions on older units which you typically review first. This method, I noticed, helps a student to digest a mass amount of knowledge slowly and comfortably, just like a big meal.

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Also, do not overstudy. When looking over past notes and readings, do not try to look too deeply into things. As a transfer student who had to adapt to less non-testing points in university classes, I noticed that to take these exams successfully, I had to study the material lightly but covering the entire breadth of material. Most exams at the University of Illinois require only the base knowledge or depth, which will be natural to a well-prepared student to unearth during the test. Overstudying causes students to typically overthink the questions and not only burn time, but also costs points when they find out the question was of a simpler nature than expected. Therefore, study at a level which is not too intense and covers more concepts instead. Exams are typically not out to trick you and thus will not contain the few really complex problems/issues discussed in texts.

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Finally, act as though the test is not graded and is just a piece of work that needs to be completed. This is tough to do but causes a student to not worry in a testing environment. By mentally putting one’s self into a place where the idea of points is gone, you are able to perform without anxiety.  I have high test anxiety and typically try to act as if I am just filling out a form at home, and I also try to not do anything academic the hours before a test, so I can enter calmly or as if I almost forgot I was testing that day. A student cannot let a test mentally beat them up before it comes upon them. That is why when it comes to finals week at the University of Illinois, a student must study slowly, not think too deeply into things, and just relax, doing uplifting activities on the day an exam occurs.

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