Oh, sweet friends, it’s been a rough week. I’m feeling quite worn.
Yesterday, I took my last final exam. It’s a strange and beautiful thing to finally be free of the classes that have, for so long, kept me from my dream. The final wasn’t too bad, except that it was at 8 am. Never acceptable. I realized that I’ve taken a couple dozen final exams in my illustrious, if extended, school career and garnered some useful knowledge, which I now share with you. Because I’m a giver.
1) Buddy Up
Studying with a partner may not work for you (it doesn’t for me), but take a little time to go over key concepts with a friend. Even if you just explain the material to someone who has no idea what you’re talking about, when you try to put what you know into logical thoughts, it solidifies the information in your brain. Plus, it’s good practice for essays.
2) Get Some Sleep
Seriously, don’t pull an all-nighter. It sounds like a good idea, but rarely is. Get at least a few hours of shut-eye. Your brain processes information as you sleep and you’ll be overall better equipped to ace your exam.
3) Get Ready
Even if your exam is late in the day, get up at a reasonable time, eat breakfast, shower, and start your day. A disturbance in your normal routine can make you feel sluggish or disoriented, which can mess with your testing mojo. Besides, rolling up feeling grungy and sleepy is never the last impression you want to make on your professor.
4) Dress Comfy
Comfortable ≠ slobbish. Dress in light layers so that you maintain an ideal temperature no matter what the conditions of the testing room. Reach for layer that button or zip, rather than pull off over your head so that you can easily add/remove clothing in those bizarre and unreasonably tiny chairs.
5) Chew Gum
Or suck on a mint. Science has linked mint to increased concentration and memory retention. Plus, chewing gum gives you an outlet for all that nervous energy.
Final thoughts: If you get stuck…
It happens. You thought you were prepared and took every precaution to do well. Then the wording of a question or that one essay topic throws you for a loop. Stop and take a deep breath, you can do this.
If it’s a Multiple Choice (Selected Response) question, skip it, and move on. Come back at the end and eliminate the choices you know are not correct. Then, make your best guess. Trust your instincts and don’t keep waffling between your answers.
If an essay has you stumped, make a small graphic organizer. Whether the essay requires you to write about the social, political, and economic causes of World War I, or make a case for the most influential scientist of all time, draw a little chart and start putting down what you know. As more information comes to you, add it to the organizer. When you’re completely stumped, try making some logical inferences based on what you already know.