Now that classes for Fall 2010 are nearly over, only one thing stands between the student body of UC Davis and three weeks of vacation – finals week. Whether next week’s tests will be your first ever at UC Davis or your last, you’ll want to be sure they go smoothly. Heed the following advice to ensure you’ll head off to winter break with grades you’re proud of.
Don’t cram. With scheduled classes over and vacation nearly within reach, it can be difficult to avoid burnout. However, resist the temptation to put off studying until the night before each final.
Instead, start reviewing class notes and other materials three or four days before the test. It’ll give you time to figure out what you don’t understand and ask for help from classmates, TAs or the professor. The information will also become part of your long-term memory instead of short-term memory, making it more permanent and less easily forgotten.
Get enough sleep. It’s a scientific fact that sleep is vital for remembering memorized information. In a 2005 study by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, college-aged participants who slept after being taught a sequence of finger movements were better able to recall the sequence the next day than participants who stayed awake.
In plain English, that means the information you memorize before a final will be useless to you come exam time unless you sleep regularly and for a sufficient amount of time. You’ll be better off closing the books and getting a full night’s sleep than continuing to study throughout the night.
Stay calm the morning of the exam. Don’t rush around getting ready, skip breakfast or frantically flip through your notes one last time before the exams are passed out. Instead, eat a healthy breakfast and give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam room.
Unitrans buses tends to be jam-packed and can run a little late during finals week, so take an early bus so you’re sure to be on time. And staring at your notes until the last possible second will only make you panic and second-guess yourself. If you don’t know something after all your studying, you’re not going to learn it five minutes before the test.
Keep your eye on the prize. Finals are usually the deciding factor in quarter grades, so if a solid GPA is important to you, you can’t afford to slack off now. Keep your future goals in mind as motivation and you’ll be rewarded with excellent results and a reason to celebrate this holiday season.