How to Prepare for the Finals?

As I have shared in the previous post, finals are often an unavoidable evil. This is why I want to share some advice with people who are now preparing for their finals in the hopes that these suggestions will make life at least somewhat easier for people who have to go through this ordeal.

1. The absolutely best thing you can do is allow for some time and space before you finish preparing for the exam and the exam itself. Ideally, you should get a good night’s sleep and not study for the exam at all in the morning right before it. I often see students still frantically going over their notes and leafing through textbooks as they walk into the room where the exam will be administered. This is a big mistake. Knowledge needs time to settle and be absorbed. These last-minute consultations with the notes do a lot more damage than good. Preparing for the exam is important but knowing when to stop preparing is just as crucial.

2. If your exam is in a foreign language course, the best thing you can do is get together with a native speaker of that language right before the exam and chat with them over coffee. If that is not possible, download some music in that language and listen to it on the way to the exam. Read something online in that language. All of these things will help you a lot more than any last-minute revision of verb conjugations.

3. I strongly recommend not pulling any all-nighters before the exam. Getting a good night’s sleep will allow you not to feel listless (or hopped up on caffeine) during the exam. Wake up early and do some gentle exercise. Take a walk before the exam. This will get the blood circulating in your body.

4. After you are done with an exam, do not immediately plunge into preparing for the next one. Reward yourself with some pleasing activity that will help you relax.

5. My grandfather was a doctor and he taught me the following important rule for people who do sedentary work: after every hour you spend working, get up and take a 10-minute walk. Getting up, going outside and walking around the building or down the street and up will help you be a lot more productive. If you remember to breathe deep and not think about your work as you are walking, that would be great.

If anybody has other suggestions for people who are currently preparing for the finals, please leave them in the comments. Let’s help out the students! 🙂

9 thoughts on “How to Prepare for the Finals?

  1. Do not associate your self-worth with your grade.

    Do not assign great importance to the outcome of the exam even before you take the exam. How can you do your best when you’ve already worried yourself silly, thinking about all the disasters that await you if you don’t get a good grade?

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  2. Stringer Bell :
    Do not associate your self-worth with your grade.
    Do not assign great importance to the outcome of the exam even before you take the exam. How can you do your best when you’ve already worried yourself silly, thinking about all the disasters that await you if you don’t get a good grade?

    When I was in high school, I was generally in the top five of an already streamed system. The lowest I would fall to in any subject was the top ten.

    What was very odd is that I wasn’t consistently good in any particular subject, from year to year, but always seemed to accidentally excel in one subject. This remained the case even after migration, when I produced my best mark in maths, during the University entrance exam. I then went on to study English and philosophy.

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  3. Wonderful! I’ll be thinking of you and thanking you for this during my Japanese final exam. It’ll be extra helpful because this is an oral exam, so my ears and tongue need to be in top shape.

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  4. Assuming a morning exam, eat breakfast — whether it’s an ultra health green smoothie (with real organic smoothness!), cold pizza from the night before, a carton of milk and an apple, whatever. It is likely better than trying to take an exam on an empty stomach.

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