Finals Survival Guide

Dylan Pheifer


 Summit Staff Reporter

It’s getting close to that time of the year again we all wait for, but also hope never comes. It’s finals week, when students will be rushing to finish assignments study for major exams and research term papers in order to complete the accumulation of 16 weeks of studies. The library once again will be flooded with students, Blackboard web traffic will be overcrowded, and students will head back to the bookstore to return rented materials. Here’s a survival guide to get through it all.

The biggest and most unfortunate faux pas many new students make is to assume that they will be taking the final at the same time their classes usually start. Do not make this mistake; instead check the finals schedule on the college’s website for your appropriate test time.

Another mistake many students make is preparing for the wrong test material. Make sure to check your class syllabus to know the difference between a final chapter exam or a cumulative exam, which covers all of the information from the entire semester. Each teacher is different so don’t assume that any of your finals will be taken with the same set of rules. Be sure to have a dialogue with your instructor if you have any questions over what you are required to do for your final.

Nobody wants to be that guy who has to borrow a pencil and paper for the final, and teachers may not say anything, but they will notice. Make sure to do a check the night or morning before so you know you have the supplies you need for the big day– typically a number-two pencil, the appropriate Scantron, notes if you’re able and, of course, any course material you can use to review before you put pen to paper.

Finals are typically major events, and can make or break a grade, they aren’t something you take lightly or blow off, and getting a zero on a final in many cases can make a student end up failing a class they otherwise would have passed if they had simply shown up. It sounds insane, but it happens. If you can’t make it to your final because of a family emergency or contesting exams, you can speak to your instructor for a better time, so that you don’t have to bite the bullet and ruin all the hard work done over these last four months.

Most people will fall into the same cycle of issues when it comes to final papers: First anxiety, then procrastination, and then finally stress. Students need to know how to combat each of these to complete their assignments.

To deal with anxiety, simply start typing– prepare an outline or even just put a title on something to help get the creative juices flowing. As far as procrastination is concerned, if you’re writing a long paper, then eventually fatigue is going to set in. It is okay to take a break to clear your head and go do something else, as long as you remember to go back to what you are doing. After you have some idea of what you want to write, it is not too late to make an outline and really centralize your main ideas.

Last of course, is college’s silent killer: Stress. The best thing to do about stress is face it head on. The more students procrastinate, the worse the stress gets, and the more work completed, the less stressful those goals become. It’s a very simple concept; just take a deep breath, do the work and everything will be just fine.