Exam Survival GuideBy Pam Linkous • Dec 11th, 2009 • Category: Lead Story
The cold hard truth has been there since you first laid eyes on that syllabus back in August. Final exams in December seemed so far away during those first weeks of class, when the tan was still glowing and shorts and tank tops were the wardrobe of choice. The cold mountain wind is blowing now and exams are next week. Are you prepared? Many are not and time is running out. It is possible to survive exams and do reasonably well, even at this late date.
First of all, be realistic. If you have been sliding by all semester doing mediocre work and getting mediocre grades, you will probably not jump to an A with a perfect exam grade. However, a good exam can salvage your GPA and a C in the class is always better than failing. Often a good showing on a final exam will impress a teacher enough to bump a grade up a critical half a point and that can make all the difference in the world when it turns a D in to a C for the semester.
Budget your time so you can use every spare moment to study. Carry your notes with you everywhere so if you get a few minutes waiting in line at the drive-thru, you can make good use of the time. Plan the next few days so that every waking moment is being used constructively. Make short lists that are easily portable so you can memorize while waiting for the microwave to finish.
However, don’t give up sleeping for studying. No matter how tough you think you are, the body always wins in the battle for sleep and that victory may come during the time an exam is being given. Get a reasonable night’s sleep, but make sure you are making the most use of your best time of day. Many people simply cannot wake up and study early in the morning. In that case, it is better to stay up late, set two alarms and then plan on sleeping until time to go to class.
Eat regular, healthy meals. Many organizations offer “exam survival kits” which are boxes of sugary and caffeinated junk food. This abuse of your body will only leave you feeling tired and miserable. Drink plenty of water and snack on fruits, vegetables and low-fat popcorn. Use coffee and energy drinks sparingly and try to exercise for a few minutes each day.
Every semester, some hapless student shows up late for an exam or misses one entirely because they did not double-check their exam schedule. Make sure you know when and where each exam is and arrive with plenty of time to spare. If you are unsure, call a classmate or email the instructor.
Take advantage of any study sessions that are offered and remember that Academic Assistance is available until the college closes for the semester.
About Pam Linkous:
Editor of my high school newspaper back when papers were carved into stone tablets and delivered by oxen, I now spend my days unraveling the mysteries of Blackboard (like, you mean my instructor has my paper NOW...I just accidently pressed enter....oh noooooo) and trying to understand how textbooks today cost more than tuition did when I went to college the first time. Despite needing several more hours per day to get everything done (who do I e-mail, Facebook, blog about that?), I still love to write and am willing to take on assignments that do not require staying up past my bedtime.
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