A stereotypical finals week may include late nights, cramming, junk food and copious amounts of caffeinated beverages, but contrary to popular belief, this is not the experience all students have.
With the right planning and good habits, finals week does not have to be as hellish an experience as some make it out to be. Even if there is a little cramming involved, being smart about studying will keep you from crashing and burning during this dreaded week.
Heather Roundy, a sophomore dental hygiene major from Aurora, balances the stress of studying for finals with better habits for her body.
“I exercise more, get more sleep, and I try to eat better than I usually do,” Roundy said.
Roundy also changes where and how she studies to help make the information stick.
“I study in the library instead of my bedroom,” she said, “and when I study I like to write on a whiteboard or teach someone else, even if they don’t really care because it helps to say it out loud.”
For Chase Robinson, a junior business major from Salina, the best way to approach studying for finals is a little at a time.
“I like to study for an hour, then take a break, then study for another, and take a break,” Robinson said. “It’s easier if I pace myself.”
Robinson said he doesn’t spend much time cramming for finals because he is aware well in advance when he needs to be ready.
“The tests are kind of a big deal,” he said. “It’s not like you can’t keep track of when they are and how much time you have.”
Tim Eicher, professor of family consumer sciences, agreed that studying throughout the semester instead of cramming at the end would help students be more successful and stress-free.
“The students who do the best are the ones who are diligent and stay up on their studies and are consistently reviewing their notes,” Eicher said. “That way, when it comes to the night before their finals, they know all the information and all they have to do is a light review.”
Eicher also warned against staying up all night to study.
“If you stay up all night, you aren’t really accomplishing anything because your brain isn’t functioning at maximum capacity to retain information,” he said.
Other things Eicher recommended were eating healthy, studying with other people, and talking about what students are studying out loud to prove they understand the material.
“If you can’t talk about different concepts out loud, you most likely won’t be able to compose any type of coherent essay or remember all the important information like you need to,” he said.
Eicher said it is a good idea to study in the way that you learn best, as well as study in a position and place that is similar to the position and place you will be taking the test.
“Your brain distinguishes position and lighting, so you should study in a room similar to the room you will be taking the test in, sitting up and with fluorescent lighting,” Eicher said.
Because of the reputation that precedes finals week, it might seem just plain scary to freshmen with no experience.
Freshman Morgan Rhoads, a general education major from Las Vegas, said she is a little nervous, but she is going to take finals week for the experience that it is.
“It is what it is,” Rhoads said. “Whatever happens, whether I pass or fail, I am going to just roll with it and figure out what I need to after.”
Keith Goodrich, a senior music education major from St. George, said he found good study habits to be the key to a successful finals week.
“I like to re-copy my notes and make worksheets for myself, and I make rhymes and lists to help memorize different things,” Goodrich said.
Finals week may seem daunting, but with good habits and preparation students should make it through.
“Just buckle down and do it, even if you want to play,” Roundy said. “It’s just one week.”
If all else fails, Robinson encourages students to keep their head up and remember the end result.
“Just keep trying,” Robinson said. “It sucks, but it’s worth it. It’s the rest of your life.”