Exam days will come to plague students the week of Dec. 17th-20th, teasing us with the freedom of Winter break but keeping us confined with tedious scantron bubbling, brain-wraking tests, and reviews thick enough to make yourself a blanket for when you give up mid exam.
Finals are something you can’t escape, even if you have the grades and lack of absents to exempt there are most likely about 4 more exams for you to take, and if I could guess it’s the electives; which means lengthy and covering topics you’re pretty sure you never talked about. Besides that it’s your core classes, covering a semester’s worth of equations, facts, skills, and dates you’ve probably forgotten the day you learned it.
Simply put; exams are not easy or fun, however, I have some tips that may help you get through this anxiety-filled, agonizing week.
Tip #1: Don’t cry too much
Exams stress everyone out, and some of us cry when we’re stressed. My tip: don’t.
First: I’m pretty sure tears will invalidate your scantron. Second: you can’t answer or guess, if you’re that desperate, when your eyes are blurred with tears. If it is completely necessary to make it through the extended 90 minutes for your class, then I would suggest you try to do it very quietly. You don’t want to be remembered 50 years later at the reunion by the tears you shed on final days instead of your actual name. Also, if you feel the sobs coming and know the people around you will ask if you’re okay, pick a desk in the back or away from the crowd; you’re already crying, you don’t want the teacher to think you’re cheating to and call you out when your eyes and nose are cherry red.
Tip# 2: Don’t use a number one pencil
Just don’t. If you want to even attempt to pass; don’t. I’m not even sure they exist, I know I haven’t seen them in any of the supply stores around my house, but if you happen to see them, sure buy them for a giggle or a gift for pencil enthusiast but don’t.
If you do prepare to be a story the teachers laugh about when they tell each other that one of their students used a ‘number one pencil’. You might even get a future teacher who will recognize your name from the story and bug you for the rest of the year, making sure to call you out on test days and remind you 5 times at least to used a number 2.
Tip# 3: Don’t fall asleep
If you’re a night owl like me, and are somehow able to sleep on the tiny stiff desks you sit at then you should consider getting the hours of sleep you need to make it through your two exams for the day. Tuesday and Wednesday we will be going to all our classes, even if the time is shortened you can always catch a few Z’s in between the exams.
Nothing is worse than resting your eyes for a few seconds and waking up with 40 more questions to go and five minutes of class left. Especially when you had the potential to pass or even ace the final.
Tip# 4: Do the review
Trust me, I know how time consuming the 75 plus question reviews can be. Especially when it’s short answers, and full of equations and skills to remember, however, for the most part a lot of your teachers will offer extra credit, a bonus on the exam, 10 plus points on a daily, test, or quiz grade.
Yes, you may be exempting. Yes, they may not be mandatory, but spending the time to complete them and get the bonus instead of looking at your report card and seeing a grade that could move up a letter if you only took the opportunity is the worst and you don’t want to have to live with the regret.
Tip# 5: Bring a snack
Preferably candy or something sweet, maybe even your favorite type of chips, because when you realize that you know none of the material and should have studied harder, at least you have a pudding pack to look forward to.
After all, comfort food and stress eating can’t wait until you’re home and can lay around, especially with exams the whole week. So bring them with you, maybe you can even try eating instead or crying. If you plan to do both simultaneously I suggest you go to the restroom and indulge in a stall.
Tip# 6: Know the exam schedule
Contrary to popular belief asking each of your teachers constantly what the schedule is or what day you’re taking the final does not make you their favorite student. Bugging your friend is almost just as annoying. It’s not as if the days and classes are on a neon pink paper all over the hallways and in almost every class.
Ask once, take a picture, write it down, set reminders, know it, memorize it, live it. Just do it.
Tip# 7: Don’t start Netflixing the night before
Adults and students alike have all been known to binge and engorge themselves in Netflix and finish seasons in nights, and shows in days; yes, somehow we have managed to cheat father time and watch a whole season, each episode 40 minutes long, in a night.
My tip is to not try to finish Breaking Bad the day before your Chemistry exam. Sure, chemicals and cooking substances may be involved but it will not help you remember how to find the number of electrons in an element.
Likewise watching Wipeout will not help with Physics, and The Voice will not help you with Music Theory.
After my experiences and carefully considering all areas of finals week these are the most vital tips I can impart on you. If you use these tips and pray to whatever deity you believe in; Allah, God, Johnny Depp, then you may actually be able to survive. Good luck, and happy test taking.