The word can make me cringe sometimes. It’s always daunting to hear professors talk about the “comprehensive final exam” that counts as a big chunk of our grade. But I’m here to tell you not to worry too much. Especially freshmen year, the thought of taking college finals is very nerve-racking. I was worried a lot about these said finals: worried I didn’t know the material, that I didn’t study enough, or that I wasn’t smart enough to pass them. That worrying was my first problem. I know prepping for finals can be stressful, so you’re allowed to worry but not so much that you start to lose material instead of retain it. Start studying little by little a few weeks before December. Thanksgiving break is always a good turning point to really crack down hard on studying. Waiting for flights or long car rides home can be the perfect opportunity to get some studying done. Don’t try to cram it all at once. Studying takes time and your brain needs to rest in between retaining all that information. Study for 30 minutes, and then take a 10-minute break. I found myself doing that, and on breaks I would walk around then come back to look at the material. It was helpful as I was able to focus more on the material after a break instead of trying to plow through everything at once. And if you haven’t invested in study groups, you should. I knew I was ready and well prepared for finals when I could explain different subjects without reading my notes for help. In my study group, we all took turns playing teacher and explaining the material to each other. It was fun.
Now, on the positive reinforcement part. Give yourself a break. Don’t cram material. Don’t pull all nighters. Sleep and be happy. Eat good, filling meals. Laugh. And dress to impress. Exercise is also a great study break. “Exercise releases endorphins, endorphins make people happy…” (Yes, a Legally Blond quote). But in all seriousness, keeping a positive attitude and taking these points into consideration will help with finals. As my good friend Taylor Jane Clark says, “ya look good, ya feel good, ya do good.” And remember, it’s just a test.