Nail Your Finals

In honor of upcoming final exams, the counseling department held a workshop on "Tips and Techniques - How to Ace Final Exams" on Tuesday, Dec. 2, during the student activity hour.

Rebeca Nunez-Mason led the workshop and gave everyone attending many ideas and game plans for what most students dread -- preparing for finals.

Her first tip was to buy a calendar in the beginning of the semester and write down all assignment due dates and final exam days in it. Although it is too late for this semester, she strongly urged everyone to do it for the next.

In studying for exams, Mason taught everyone how to make a five-day plan, to study in an organized fashion. For five days before the final, you need to break the material down and study each section per the day you assigned it. For example, if you have 20 chapters to study for, set it that you do four a day.

Then, each day you should review the previous chapters before learning the new ones. Since you are reviewing, it takes a less amount of time each day.

During those five days, you need to study in one-hour segments at a maximum of two hours.

As for when to study, Mason says, "you need to study your hardest subject at the best time for you." Then, you must make sure to study the same subject at the same time all five days.

As for the actual studying, the best way to do it is to read the material and recite it in your own words. "Recite the material out loud!" Mason enthused. "When you do things loud, you really listen to yourself and that makes less mistakes."

Some pointers are to reread/remark your highlighting, make study sheets, make word cards or question cards. The cards can be anything, even pictures.

"Be creative. Most students are so creative and sometimes we learn more by drawing," she said. "Some of you take the bus, and it is a perfect time for you to read those flashcards." It is important for all students to make the most of their time, especially during a crunch week like finals.

Students also need to be able to set priorities for exams. Put the greatest effort into the classes with borderline grades, so the final can make a difference.

One of the key factors in making sure you are well prepared is to keep yourself motivated.

Studying in the library, rather than in your own home, is the best way to prevent yourself from distractions. At home, there are too many temptations such as the TV and checking the fridge. "Even just taking the dog for a walk is a temptation," said Mason.

Another stimulator is forming study groups. If you are apprehensive about approaching your classmates, you can ask the professor to write a note on the board with your name and number saying that they can call you for a study group.

During finals most people let go of their social lives, but as social beings it is not healthy to completely lock yourself out, so a study group is a great way to be involved with other people while still preparing for finals.

Another way to inspire yourself is to plan rewards that will help you stay on task.

On the day of the test, it is important to stay relaxed and to visualize. Get in a little early and close your eyes before the test, then visualize yourself staying calm and confident. "Visualize that A," said Mason.

Make sure to get at least five hours of sleep the night before and to eat breakfast or the meal beforehand. "Believe it or not, food has a lot to do with your brain," Mason said.

Her advice for the best fruit to have? A banana. It is filled with potassium, which breaks down slowly and gives your energy. Students must also remember to drink, drink, drink water all day long. You should have your water bottle with you at all times.

Mason also gave a few tips for during the final. If the teacher has given the questions beforehand, write the essays at home so you know how to answer them when you get to the test.

If you are unsure about your answer, do not go back and change it! Most of the time the first answer is the correct answer.

"Teacher don't use tricky questions unless they are a mean person," she said. So don't get too stressed, just manage your time wisely and open your brain, and good things will come.