April 16, 2018

Focus on Finals

By Marybeth Norcross

Picture of Testing CalendarIt’s hard to believe, but finals are just a few short weeks away! which means you are probably buried in papers, projects, presentations, and unit tests. Don’t let this sneak up on you! Planning for your finals doesn’t have to be difficult. With just a few steps you can go into finals focused and prepared. Make a plan now so you are ready when the time arrives.

Focusing on Finals

Focusing on finals means that you know what you plan to accomplish. One good way to approach this is to make two sets of goals: what you need to do, and what you want to do.

Need to Do. Think of these goals as your minimums. Look at your class performance over the semester. What scores do you need to make to achieve satisfactory performance in each of your classes? Distinguish the classes that will require more effort from those where you already have high scores.

Want to Do. These goals are what will please you. In answering this, make sure you keep these goals realistic. Don’t set impossible goals for all your finals. Set these goals class by class to help keep them achievable.

Balance the two sets of goals and determine a goal for each class. This will help you focus your time management and study strategies to achieve your goals.

Preparing for Finals

Preparing for your finals involves more than just going over notes. It’s strategic. It starts right away with time management. Clear your calendar as much as possible and set a study schedule. Then find out whether your finals are comprehensive. If they are comprehensive, then you will want to begin reviewing past material right away. What do you know and what do you need to study? You can’t prepare for a comprehensive final by reading a semester’s worth of notes two days before the final.

Find a way to create notes that allow you to test yourself, especially in content  where you are weak. The more you practice retrieving information, the better your test performance will be, whether you are trying to remember information or applying your knowledge. Self testing will reassure you that you know what you think you know.

Ready for Finals

Being ready for your finals means you have learned as much as you can and have set goals for each test. You’ve stuck to a study schedule, and carried out a study plan. It doesn’t mean you won’t be anxious. Ready means that you have done what you need to do, to the best of your ability, for the goals you set.

Take control and plan for your finals now. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you need help getting started, use the Academic Coaching Request make an appointment with a Learning Specialist in the Student Success Center. Beginning now will help reduce your anxiety and make you better prepared when the time arrives.