One week between you and the freedom of summer. One week of pulling all-nighters, too many cups of coffee, mental breakdowns, and the ultimate procrastination. Finals week is upon you and you are not at all prepared for what is about to come. The Night is dark and full of cramming, but is this standard of studying overrated? Is it effective? Is even good for your health? Some may argue there is not other way to assess someone’s knowledge, while others have their reservations about stressful examinations.
Finding ways to assess someone’s level of knowledge is difficult because everyone learns and remembers differently. We’ve been told that exams and tests are an accurate measure of someone’s knowledge but some might argue that practical application or use might actually be more accurate. But one thing is common between all assessments; they are a leading cause in stress among students and can actually lead to serious health and social problems.
According to a study conducted by the National Union of Teachers, the curriculum and standards that England have in education is more detrimental to students’ interests and health rather than serving to enrich their lives with academics. It limits the potential of learning among students as well as negatively affect their self-esteem and confidence. So, in reality, exams can be very harmful to your health, but only if you form bad study habits and lifestyles that only increase stress levels.
If you are not familiar yet with a standard University Finals Week, it is a week where students prepare and study for final examinations that determine a large portion of their overall grade for the semester. Classes are over, but the exams are scheduled during the week for all different subjects which the students must attend and pass. The stress from the weight of these exams are heavy, so they resort to very unhealthy lifestyles and study habits to “survive” the week.
Here’s a short list of bad habits students fall into while studying for finals:
- Not sleeping enough – Time is of the essence, so they try to use most of their time studying and reading and reviewing materials for their exam. They sacrifice their own sleep to do well on their exams
- Cramming – A bad study habit formed by studying an entire semester’s worth of classes in just a few days. Usually the procrastination catches up to you and you have to study the entire syllabus in one night
- Eating Unhealthily – Some students never leave their room, some students never leave the library. But they still need to somehow eat and replenish their energy. They buy all the most convenient foods and even order take out during the week because they don’t have time to cook. Burgers, pizza, chips and energy drinks are “Finals fuel” for most college students.
- Too much caffeine – A serious problem among young students is heart attacks. The major stress from exams, mixed with drinking too much caffeine is dangerous for your heart and your blood pressure.
- Substance abuse – Whether it is alcohol or a prescriptions drug, students tend to abuse the use of both so that they may cope with this finals week. This causes many different side effects and can permanently damage your health.
Students don’t realize they are doing more harm than good to themselves during finals week, which can be a serious problem later in life.
How do you survive exam week with all of your brain intact?
Productivity increases during certain times of the day, and in the evening it is the least efficient time to study. Having a good 6-8 hours of sleep everyday will be good for your brain, as it will also help productivity during the day. So do yourself a favor and go take a nap.
Convenience is the ultimate key when talking about food and finals week. It’s too easy to order uber eats or DoorDash and not have to worry about it, but make sure you get something healthier. Salads are boring, but a cold cut sandwich, or some grilled meats and veggies will do the trick. Get rid of those potato chips and replace them with granola or even veggie sticks. Your body will thank you for it, and it will leave you feeling energized and functioning just fine!
Use Your Resources
One majorly overlooked thing that can help you study for your finals and survive the week is the resources that are available to you. Most universities have a computer lab or library where they have rooms to rent out and study with your groups. They are usually equipped with whiteboards and projectors to give you a variety of study methods. Some colleges also offer office hours where you can come to your professor or teacher’s assistant and ask for extra help regarding a certain topic. Some websites can also provide you materials to study from as well, such as Assignment Expert or Quizlet.
If you know you have a final exam, its best to try to prepare during the course instead of the final week. Have your notes organized, arrange study sessions with classmates, and even schedule your study times. Make sure you know exactly when it is and exactly where to go so you won’t have any added stress.
Find a Partner
Studying alone may be beneficial for yourself to learn things, but studying with a group or partner may also make studying a lot easier. Working together to solve problems or review materials cuts down the amount of work you have to do, and it also provides live feedback for your mistakes and vice versa.
So don’t stress too much over you finals exams, there are plenty of things you can do to make your life easier. Just remember to keep your health a priority and everything will be fine! Now go and smash those tests!