The Cadre | UPEI

Ten Tips For Those Dreadful Finals

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The original copy of this article was written by Olivia Robinson and was first published on the third of December, 2012.

Congratulations – you’ve almost made it to the end of the second semester.

All that stands between you and the gorgeous summertime are twenty-one days of school. If Zooey here is an accurate representation of how you typically feel post-exam, sit back and take a deep breath. Hopefully, these tips help you through exams in one piece.

Tip #1 – Drink Coffee/Tea/Redbull/anything caffeinated.

This seems like a no-brainer, but seriously, drink something containing caffeine on the morning of your exam. It will wake you up, give you that extra little jump you need to actually put on pants that aren’t pajamas, and make you feel a tiny bit better. If you’re opposed to caffeine, I don’t know what to tell you. Honestly, I’m not quite sure how you have survived university. Just make sure you don’t drink anything over twelve ounces because that will just end badly.

Tip #2 – For those who don’t like caffeine – eat food/exercise.

If you are opposed to caffeine, there are plenty of other great ways to stay alert without the help of caffeine. A good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast do wonders for your brain. If you have an afternoon or evening exam, make sure to pack some food or bring money. Food is a necessity to keep your brain running. Opt for healthy food, of course.

If you still need an extra boost, get some exercise. Going to the gym or swimming a few laps in the pool is a great way to increase your energy level. The activity will also give you a break from studying. Definitely a win/win!

Tip #3 – Bring Candy/Snacks/Gum/Water.

It has been scientifically proven that chewing increases brain activity, so why wouldn’t you bring candy and snacks to your exams? Even if you have a morning exam, candy is still perfectly acceptable. Water is good too, but just don’t drink too much of it because three hours is a lot longer than you think it is.

Tip #4 – Don’t go to the bathroom unless you really need to.

It is so annoying to be sitting with someone during an exam who gets up every five minutes to “go to the bathroom”. If you really have to go then fine, but getting up multiple times during the exam just because you don’t know the answers is not cool. I guess the underlying message behind this is DO NOT sit next to anyone who has a large cup of anything with them. Just don’t.

Go to the bathroom before you go to write your exam. It seems like a no-brainer, but seriously, just do it.

Tip #5 – Ignore the fans.

If you’re a first year, you have not yet been exposed to the wonderful time that is writing exams in the Sports Centre gym. The big fans in there make a LOT of noise, and they turn on and off frequently. Honestly, your best bet is to just pretend that the fans aren’t there – because otherwise, you will go crazy. If you are lucky enough to have already lived through the fans, then kudos to you.

Tip #6 – Dress in layers.

For some strange reason, it gets freezing cold in the gym during exams. Last year, I wore my coat for the entire duration of my Physics exam because I was so cold. So wear a sweater (and maybe a hat), to avoid this problem. Writing an exam while your hands are shaking is not fun.

Tip #7 – Study

This also seems like common sense, but we’re going to say it anyway. STUDY. Make a study schedule and stick to it. The best way to feel confident about your exams is to prepare for them well in advance. Make sure you take frequent study breaks, though, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Hopefully, you know your study style, so do what works for you. Draw diagrams, recopy your notes, use whiteboards and chalkboards, create acronyms, make up funny stories about the material. Whatever works to get the information in your head.

Tip #8 – Form productive study groups

Productive is the key word here because a study group that evolves into a Third Rock from the Sun marathon is not helpful. Book a study room in the library (if you can get one), get together a group of serious students from your class and get to work. Ask each other questions, draw funny diagrams on the board, and get your study on.

BONUS Post Exam Tips

Tip #9 – Have a nap.

After you write your exam, your brain is going to feel like a pile of mush. Instead of jumping right back into studying, take a break and have a nap. Put on your pajamas, get under the covers, and sleep for at least half an hour. Make sure you set an alarm, though, because you don’t want to sleep the day away.

Tip #10 – Relax!

Once all of your exams are over, rejoice!  Take time to reflect on the semester and what you can do to improve come September, and then enjoy your break.