It's that time of the semester... Finals week may seem far away but it's actually right around the corner. Everyone wants to go home and have a good time because it's everyone's favorite time of year: summer. It's starting to get warm which really makes you have the urge to skip class and have fun with your friends whether it's playing football or stay inside in your air-conditioned room.
We've all been there and it's something we all experience once a year, even twice a year counting winter break. You don't have a lot of time left to boost your grades. The following tips are some last minute strategies to help boost your grade and help prepare you for finals.
1. Read Over Your Notes
Now's the time to start looking over all of the notes you've taken throughout the semester. It may not seem like much but just reading through your notes every day will make it that much easier to remember the content later on and make studying less stressful in May. I'm not saying you have to study your notes every night for an hour. Just take 15 minutes for each subject to just read through them.
Let's say your final is open notes, start organizing them with labels using post-it notes. You'll be surprised how much time and stress it'll save you the day of the big exam! Keep in mind it will give you more time to study for the harder tests later!
If you have a final paper, don't wait two days before it's due to start it. Keep in mind you have 3 or more other classes to study for. Start the paper now, plan it out and draft it. It will make the final draft that much easier later.
2. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you all listen to one tip in this article I hope it's this one. Asking your professor for help or asking them why you received a certain grade on a specific assignment is NOT a bad thing.
In fact, let me share a quick story with you...
Last semester I had written my first philosophy paper ever. I had no idea what structure I had to follow for this paper and I didn't care to ask I just read the prompt and "wing it". I felt I had written a strong paper regardless of not knowing the format, but when I received my grade I was disappointed. I then visited my professor at his office hours and read my paper with him explaining my meaning and approach to the prompt which allowed him to understand my thinking. I also discussed my lack of experience in the subject and after understanding my thinking he boosted my paper a whole letter grade.
There's always hope and professors are more understanding then you think. They're not out there to make our lives a living hell but to help us learn and reach our fullest potential. Asking for extra help shows you care (and even gives you little brownie points). Keep in mind this time is made for you and they're typically sitting in their office alone bored out of their minds.
3. Stay Organized
I don't mean to sound like your mom (or your academic advisor) but you NEED to have a planner or some type of calendar handy. I know you have one month left in the semester but this is a perfect case of the "better late than never cliché".
Once you have your calendar make sure you write all the dates, times, and locations of your finals. DO NOT SLEEP IN OR BE LATE. It wouldn't hurt to write down the due dates of your remaining assignments so you have enough time to complete them and put in your maximum effort.
And when you return to campus in the Fall, I expect you to have a planner...(You'll thank me for this one day).
This tip is short and simple. We're all different types of learners and different subjects are our strong suits. I'm a journalism major, you might be an econ major. That's life, I'm going to be better at different things than you are and vice versa.
Take your subjects and write them down. You can even use your previous assignments to help you. Rank your classes from hardest to easiest or maybe even your worst grade to your best. Study those classes at the top of the list over the bottom of the list. I'm not saying totally ignore your notes you've taken in the easier classes, but spend more time on the harder material.
We don't have all of the time in the word so use it wisely. You may have more leeway in some classes than you do in others.
5. Take Breaks and Get Sleep
The one tip I wish I listened to was to make sure you get some sleep. Do not pull all-nighters studying the day or two before your final exam. Once you reach a certain level of tired memorization becomes harder and studying becomes pointless because of the lack of awareness. You can always go to sleep and wake up and start studying the next morning.
When you plan on studying all day it's also important that you take breaks throughout. Whether it's a small break to give your brain a rest, or even a longer break to have some "you time" and get some lunch I can promise it's not going to change your results later.
Just like you, I'm a tired college student who wants to do my best even when the odds aren't in my favor. Remain calm and use the following month wisely. Finals will go well and at the end of the day, it isn't the end of the world if you get one bad grade.
Good luck to all and just like the Hunger Games once said, "may the odds be ever in your favor".