The end of the semester can be an especially challenging time for college students. It is a time where students are often inundated with finals. They have to complete their final presentations, pass their final tests, and submit their final papers. If a student is not adequately prepared, it could lead to anxiety which can negatively impact performance. However, finals should not be viewed as a discouraging time during your studies. Rather, it should be viewed as a time where you can demonstrate a solid understanding of all of the concepts you were introduced to during the semester. It is also a time where you can celebrate your achievements for the semester, learn from your mistakes and grow academically as a student. Preparation is the key to handling all of your “end of the semester” responsibilities. Pace yourself and begin studying for your finals early.
According to the US Department of Education, it is not uncommon for students to develop a level of anxiety prior to taking tests. However, students should practice a few strategies to help them reduce their anxiety levels and better focus for their final exams:
- Space studying over days or weeks. (Real learning occurs through studying that takes place over a period of time.) Understand the information and relate it to what is already known. Review it more than once. (By doing this, the student should feel prepared at exam time.)
- Don’t “cram” the night before–cramming increases anxiety which interferes with clear thinking. Get a good night’s sleep. Rest, exercise, and eating well are as important to test-taking as they are to other schoolwork.
- Read the directions carefully when the teacher hands out the test. If you don’t understand them, ask the teacher to explain.
- Look quickly at the entire examination to see what types of questions are included (multiple choice, matching, true/ false, essay) and, if possible, the number of points for each. This will help you pace yourself.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, skip it and go on. Don’t waste time worrying about it. Mark it so you can identify it as unanswered. If you have time at the end of the exam, return to the unanswered question(s).
The PSC Library is a good place to commence your studies. The library has study rooms available for group or individual study. There are also a plethora of books available that will provide students with strategies for research, taking tests or general study skills.