The end of the trimester is quickly approaching, and I have been in final exam study mode for a week now. I figure that this is a great opportunity to share some of the things that I personally do to prepare for and survive finals.
First of all, I am the kind of person that prefers taking the slow and steady approach to studying for finals. This turtle-based strategy allows me to stay focused and not stress out too much as exams roll in.
I create a very detailed schedule for the last three weeks of each trimester. I first add the things to my schedule that I need to do in order to stay sane (i.e. healthy meal prep, evening walks, talking to family, quiet time). Since I prioritize these things, I feel more sustained with the studying and much less stressed. After blocking out time spent in the classroom and keeping up with current classwork, I fill the remaining hours with final exam review. I keep higher demand review during my best focus times and material that comes more naturally to me for other times. I review something for each course daily. As the days go on, I feel more comfortable as finals approach.
It may seem strange to create such a detailed schedule, but I find that it helps prevent me from having to make decisions on what to study. With approaching exams in all classes, it can get overwhelming deciding on what to study and when. The schedule I lay out is well-balanced and covers the material I need to review in the ratios that work best for me. I just need to focus on studying. I follow this schedule for two weeks.
When finals week begins, I change things up a bit. I still review, but the quality of my reviewing changes. Since I already reviewed for two weeks prior, I am more calm and focused. I give myself longer breaks than normal. I start packing to go home for break. I sing during my breaks (and when I finish each exam). I enjoy my daily evening walks more than usual, making sure to be present to the nature and silence around me (I also enjoy the Christmas lights).
I reflect on all of my hard work and how I consistently put in the time to learn the material all throughout the trimester. And then, before I know it, the exams are over. It is time for a break!