Yesterday marked the last day of my first finals week, and I'm glad to say I made it out alive (after many academic building "study sessions" with friends, lots of caffeine, an all-nighter and a lot of stress).
Admittedly, I did better than survive grade-wise, but it was a struggle at some points and I pulled some good lessons from this past week:
1. If you did your homework, you know more than you think you do.
My plan of attack (which did not come to fruition) for studying was to start from the beginning and intensely examine every detail of every course. In retrospect, this was an illogical expectation; the whole idea of being enrolled in a course for a semester is so that you learn the material, and the final is a test of your learning. It's not necessary to freak out and re-examine every nook and cranny of a class. I'm not, however, recommending doing absolutely no review; it's good to make sure you remember everything you're supposed to before you take a final, but you shouldn't have to re-learn it.
That is, unless, you did no homework all semester, in which case this plan might be necessary.
2. Stay relaxed.
When you're cramming to finish that paper the night before it's due at 3am (we all do; it's a rite of passage), getting excited/nervous/anxious will not help you. In this situation, it's best to just stay relaxed, hydrated and push through. Caffeine is a toss-up; personally, too much coffee makes me anxious, but I definitely require a little bit to stay up!
3. The dangers of group studying.
If you're with your friends, it tends not to work. Especially if it's not for the same course. For example, my friend Nate and I got a decent amount of Calc practice done in a St. Edmund's classroom while playing music; but when there were 8 of us studying for Bio, History, Chem, Calc, Anthro, etc... we ended up ordering Chinese food. But I did discover that doing lots of math on a whiteboard (with a friend who knows what he's doing) is a great way to prepare for a Calc final!
So that's all I can think of after a week of finals! To college readers, have a nice break! To high-schoolers, keep up the good work!
Thanks for reading!