Wow, the end of the semester is actually here. Where'd the time go? I'm sure you're saying the same thing. With so much on your plate, you may be wondering how in the world you're going to find time to prepare for final exams, never mind how you'll actually manage to survive them. Trust me, mama, you can do this. Take a deep breath and consider these tips to help you get a handle on your test anxiety during this crazy time.
Schedule Study Time
I've talked about this aspect of time management, but it's especially important at finals to make sure you've set aside plenty of time for study. Write it down in your agenda or planner, and be sure to stick to it — just like any other appointment. You'll find that you're far less stressed if you know you've got the time set aside.
Break It Down
Decide which subjects are most difficult and tackle those first in your study session when your energy level is highest. Also keep in mind that it's impossible to study absolutely everything. Decide which topics are most likely to be on the exams and focus on those. Often professors will provide you with study guides. Take a moment to review the study guides, highlighting the topics that are toughest for you. Breaking things down always makes them seem less overwhelming.
More tips after the break.
Talk It Out
Believe it or not, saying the information out loud helps it to stick. You're also more likely to get a better understanding by speaking the information. You can do this in a group study session or when you're somewhere by yourself. Don't feel self-conscious. Know that this method will help you to remember things. Consider making flash cards or reading out loud. Also, putting things into your own words is immensely beneficial when it comes to comprehension.
Do What You Gotta Do
As they say, "Desperate times call for desperate measures!" This is true when it comes to finals and other hectic times during the semester. Fall semester is particularly difficult during finals week because it's so close to the holiday season. So go ahead and do what you gotta do. If that means putting your kids in front of the TV, so be it. If you have to feed the family sandwiches or takeout for dinner, so what? Now is definitely not the time to play supermom. You aren't any less of a mother by focusing on yourself and your education during this important time.
Make It Clear
Now is also not the time to worry about hurting feelings. Make it clear to your family, your boss, and your friends that your extra time will be spent studying. Let them know that your education is important to you and that you'll need to dedicate extra effort to getting through finals week. They'll understand. You give 100 percent to others. Let them reciprocate. It's OK.
Finally, just remember that finals only last a week. Soon it will all be over, and you'll be able to enjoy some much-deserved time with your family during the holiday break. Be sure to take some time for yourself, too! Once you've taken that last test, let it all go. Don't stress about how you did. Know that what's done is done. Even poor test performance isn't the end of the world.
Happy holidays to you and yours! What are your plans for the break?
Here are more resources from sites across the web to help you with finals:
My online friend Betsy Anne has some great tips at The Non-Traditional Student Blog.
William J. Rapaport of SUNY at Buffalo, NY, offers a guide on how to study. He also has some funny comics!
I wrote this post last year on my blog, Never Too Late For College.