(This article was originally published Dec. 6, 2019.)
This fall semester has looked different for our students. But there’s one thing that remains consistent: final exams.
They’re stressful. We get it. So in an effort to help you make the most of these next few days, we asked some professors around campus for their best pieces of advice for finals week. Take a break from studying and read these tips to be at your best when it counts. (Just make sure it’s not too long of a break.) Good luck this week, Eagles!
1. DIET IS IMPORTANT DURING FINALS WEEK.
- “Eat a hearty breakfast. Keep peppermints on hand.” – Jason Bussey, School of Business
- “Coffee works but has unintended consequences. Drink at your own risk. Also: carry candy. People always love the person who provides candy. If you bring candy to your study groups, people will think your intentions are good, even if you plan to contribute nothing more than candy. At least you’ll get invited back.” – Keri Bostwick, School of Education and Exercise Science
2. AVOID DISTRACTIONS.
- “Turn off Netflix… it only gives you about four seconds at the end of a new episode before it starts a new one. I rarely get my life together in that time. During finals week, just turn it off. This also applies to Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+.” – Keri Bostwick
- “No cat videos or social media.” – Jon Ensor, School of Ministry and Christian Thought
- “One time a student of mine binge-watched Marvel movies the night before taking my test, instead of studying. Their test score turned out not so super. Don’t be that student.” – Jerome Van Kuiken, School of Ministry and Christian Thought
3. SCHEDULE A STUDYING STRATEGY THAT INCLUDES BREAKS.
- “Study in short but focused bursts. Then, after about 20-30 minutes give yourself a break, watch a cat video or two. Try this for no more than two hours, and then give yourself a real break. Go outside, play, workout, run, socialize for at least an hour. Then repeat.” – Jon Ensor
- Caffeine, protein, study, nap, repeat.” – Dalene Fisher, School of Arts and Sciences
4. GET SOME SLEEP – BUT BE SURE TO WAKE UP ON TIME.
- “Every year, I have students sleep through their final exam because they ‘spent all night studying,’ only to doze off in the early morning hours.” – Josh McNall, School of Ministry and Christian Thought
- “Be sure to set ample alarm clocks the night before. There’s nothing like staying up late studying for a comprehensive final and forgetting to set your alarm clock. Waking up with five minutes to get dressed and start the final exam on time is not the most comforting feeling in the world – believe me!” – President Dunn
- “Get plenty of rest.” – Jason Bussey
5. KNOW WHERE YOUR FINALS ARE.
- “Make sure you know when and where your finals take place. I may or may not have run into an 8:00 AM final ‘late’ as a freshman, only to find a group of seniors taking a different final. My final was the next day… I was on time.” – Sunshine Hattingh, Student Development.
- “For goodness sake, show up to the right final!” – Jason Bussey
6. CHILL OUT. SERIOUSLY.
- “While some students need to care a bit more about their grades, others need to care a bit less. At the end of the day, whether you get a B+ or an A- will not matter much in the grand scheme of things.” – Josh McNall
- “Do your best and chill out. After all, when you interview to become a university president, no one will likely ask you what grade you earned on a final exam!” – President Dunn
- “Stay calm. And study like Hermione Granger.” – Ben Rotz, Student Development
- “Breathe. You know more than you think. You’ve got this.” – Keri Bostwick
7. FORGIVE YOURSELF IF IT DOESN’T GO WELL.
- “If you’ve engaged in your courses throughout the semester, you’ve been stretching like a rubber band. You’re ready for finals. You’ll stretch to the max, but you’ll do it and be all the more flexible because of it. But if you didn’t engage in your courses and you haven’t stretched yourself, prepare for the snap. After you’ve snapped, don’t forget the lesson. Forgive yourself and set yourself up for success next semester.” – Monica Epperson, Director of Academic Enhancement
There you have it. Good luck next week, Eagles. No pressure. Oh, and remember one last piece of advice, from Dr. Bussey: “If all else fails, pick answer C.”