Finals Prep List

Monday, April 27, 2015


This is my last week of classes, which means that the dreaded finals week begins a week from today. OH THE HORROR! If you haven't been on top of all things to do with finals, that's okay! There is still time (especially if your finals aren't actually for another two weeks or so).

Before classes end, there's definitely a few things that you should make sure are complete or in order before the semester is over.

1. Make sure all of your outstanding assignments are turned in.

I know for some of my classes, there is one day at the end of the semester where everything has to be turned in, whether it's assignments you didn't bother turning in on time or revisions to improve your grades. Ask your professor if you're missing any assignments if you're really not sure. Even if you don't receive full points, half credit is still better than receiving a zero on an assignment!

2. Get your due dates in order. 

I've had assignments due sporadically throughout the past week and in the upcoming week and it has been really important for me to track their due dates in both my agenda and on my full-sized desk calendar, color-coded depending on the class it is for. Make sure to keep track of extensions as well so you're not rushing to get a paper done and come to realize that it's not due for another week (or, conversely, so you're not rushing last minute because you think you have more time and in reality you have a day to write an entire essay).

3. Double, even triple check your exam times and dates. 

I have nightmares about missing my exam times. I ask my classmates about a thousand times when the final is just to double check with what the syllabus says as well as professor's announcements. Due dates and exams dates are just as important as the knowledge you fill your brain with to write your papers or take your exams.

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When it comes to studying, it all depends on how you prepare best for exams. Whatever study method works well for you, it's best to start earlier rather than later so you're not relying on a cram session that may or may not backfire in the end.

1. Make a study plan. 

It sounds incredibly lame when I write it out, but don't go into your studying blindly. At this point in your life, you should at least have one solid way to attack the whole concept of studying. For example, I know that I study the best with flash cards and by writing lists and timelines. So I'm going to make sure I have all of the materials I need to create my study tools. If you have friends in classes that you want to study with, start coordinating when your schedules align so you can squeeze in studying with a partner, if that's one of your preferred methods. Try to assess how you're going to tackle the studying process before diving into it blindly and overwhelming yourself.

2. Create your study tools. 

As I said, I like flashcards and lists. I started making my flashcards for my Spanish final last week and have slowly been chipping away at filling them out every day (I'll do anywhere between 15 to 25 a day) so I'm not overwhelmed by trying to fill out over 100 flashcards in a single sitting. But before I could do my flashcards, I had to fill out my study guide, which meant cyphering through two months worth of Powerpoints to find the simplified definitions and descriptions of the key terms on the study guide rather than the drawn out and verbose explanations given in the textbook. I chipped away at this two, taking it a few countries at a time so I didn't want to cry from stress.

Pacing yourself during the preliminary studying stages is just as important as pacing yourself during the actual studying. You don't want to give up before you've even started!

3. Put your finishing touches on that paper. 

I'm not totally against writing a paper last minute. Do I personally think it'll yield your best work? No. But I'm also not the type of person who feels the need to force somebody into being on top of their work, especially given everyone's different circumstances. However, if you have the time, I highly recommend getting started on writing your papers long before due dates.

The first thing I do when I'm given a paper assignment is hone in on what my topic is and asking myself questions about it. Why do I care about this? Why should anybody else care about it? What can I say about this that'll make it interesting? What research am I going to have to do to prove my point? Is there going to be enough research on this topic?  After all of those questions and a short bit of preliminary research (which, admittedly, probably involves Wikipedia. Sue me), I'll write an outline. I may or may not actually follow this outline, but it 1. makes you feel like you're accomplishing something that day and 2. could prove helpful in the end a couple of weeks later when you're proofreading your paper and wondering if you included all of the points that you wanted to from the start.

When do your finals start?

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