Don’t sweat it

Members of the features staff give their studying advice

Sweating finals is so last year

Denise Wright

For me, finals week will be the easiest week of my semester, hands down. As a junior, I almost long for the days when I pulled all-nighters and pulled my hair out trying to read a textbook in its entirety the day before an exam. I feel I now live in a constant state of stress, making it nearly impossible to fully sweat much of anything. But there was a time when I felt your pain. So, I’ll try scraping up and passing on tips that worked for me while cramming:

&bull Take breaks: I put this first because I think it’s the most important. I learned from experience that two four-hour cram sessions are far more productive than one eight-hour session. Put the book down and take a bubble bath. I already have plans to go see “Twilight” next Wednesday between studying for my stats exam.

&bull Class notes are always more important than reading textbooks. Enough said.

&bull Use highlighters, page markers and anything else you can get your hands on. They’ll help immensely with narrowing down more important material.

&bull Flashcards are a godsend, plain and simple.

&bull Contrary to popular belief, it’s never good to let yourself go during finals week. In other words, get some sleep and eat something other than gummy worms.

&bull If nothing else, go outside and scream. There used to be a Kent State Scream Day during finals week, and I think we need to bring it back because sometimes nothing helps quite like a good scream.

Happy studying!

Test-taking tips

Suzi Starheim

Like most any other college student, I would rather be at the recreation center or watching television than studying or taking an exam, but at this point in the semester, we all know that is not a reasonable option.

Whether you are a first-semester freshman sweating over the first set of final exams or a seasoned pro at test-taking, the time to crack down and work has come.

If you need plenty of time to study and memorize, put down this newspaper and crack the books. Time is wasting away.

If you are one of the “I’ll study tomorrow morning before I go to take my exam” people, don’t sweat it yet. Exams should always be in the back of your mind, but burn off some energy and have some last-minute fun before exams rear their ugly heads.

Only we ourselves know which method of studying is best for our particular needs, and as a last-minute studier, I have not hit panic mode yet.

If I could give other students any word of advice the Thursday before finals, it would be to relax. If you can’t focus on studying or are on information overload, put down the books and go for a short walk. Sometimes you can study too much. That’s not to say don’t study, but pace yourself.

Tests are not fun. They are not made for fun, and to be quite honest, they will never be fun. So plant yourself at a desk, fill in the bubbles and finish the exams so you never have to look at them again.

Final preparations

Laura Lofgren

Class is winding down as stress is building up from studying and completing final projects. But just think about when it’s all over, you get to go home to family, friends and food.

To keep myself from stressing out too much before enjoying the holidays, I like to take a few hours out of the week to just relax and watch some newsworthy television (if I can find any) or sip on a cup of black tea and listen to some tunes.

Studying usually comes about a week before the actual date of my final exam. After going through last year, when I studied the night before, I learned my lesson and now devote two to three hours to reading and refreshing before I go to bed. That way, I can remember right before I fall asleep, and it’s the last thing on my mind.

You need to remember to have some fun during finals week, too. Going over to a friend’s house to do laundry and watch a football game is a good way to concentrate on something else and a good way to avoid that “burned out” feeling you so often get from several hours of reading the same phrases over and over again.

Trying to find equilibrium between study time, sleep time and work time can seem like a daunting task, but after you’ve gotten a firm schedule set up, no final will seem too disheartening.

Make it count

Rebecca Mohr

Final exams may be the most stressful part of the year for me. I look at it as “every last grade counts.”

In order to make sure that my last grade is a fairly good one, I try to get everything together at least five days before exam day.

I highlight my notes, skim through the chapters that I was supposed to read months ago and make sure that I do not have any last-minute questions.

After looking over my individual work, I always look for a study group. I do a lot better when I can bounce around ideas with other people. It may sound self-centered, but I review better when I have to teach somebody. It helps me understand the material better, and it raises my confidence level because I realize how much I really do know.

Overall, I just have to make sure I do not stress myself out. If I over-think the test, I tend to mess up more and freak out. Final exams are a difficult concept. If you study, work hard, relearn the stuff that should have been learned three months ago and don’t stress out, then you can make the last grade a good one.

Be the test

Darren D’Altorio

Just months ago, walks to class and parties were carefree. There were no worries about that glaring letter grade at the end of the ride because it was so far off in the distance. There was still time not to worry. Well, December has arrived, and the worrying is underway.

But fear not. There are ways to combat the stresses and fears of finals week.

&bull Be confident. Confidence equals success in college. Even when reality keeps rearing its ugly head, giving harsh reminders of bad study habits throughout the semester and ill preparation for finals, confidence can be the life vest keeping your head afloat above the rough waters.

&bull Become the test. Think like the test. Where in the question is the part that is supposed to confuse me? What answer choice is so absurd, it can be gotten rid of immediately? What is this question really asking?

&bull Never, ever bubble in anything on the Scantron sheet before going through every question on the test and writing what you think is the correct answer on the test sheet itself. This forces you to go through the test again to bubble in the Scantron sheet and simultaneously check the answers. Professors, those crafty punks, will sometimes litter clues throughout an exam. These clues will be spaced out, however. Question 22 could be the answer to question three. Question 48 could be the same as question 11.

Finals are part of the college experience. They strengthen the mind, body and soul by teaching students to handle information, function mentally on no sleep and trust their abilities. It’s a gift to be exposed to knowledge. Absorb it. Live it. Love it.