Surviving Finals

Jimmy Gruver '17 and Reece Sanders '17 prepare to say "good-bye" to their old laptops.
Jimmy Gruver ’17 and Reece Sanders ’17 prepare for the strain of exams before Summer Break.

                     If you’re an average–or really any–Blake student, the following excerpt very likely sounds like a thought that plagued you late in last December: I just have to get through these five days by doing what I need to do. For 120 hours of finals week, you shuffled through notecards highlighted in neon and scraped through a pile of old papers searching for a smudged line of crucial information. The groggy metal pandemonium of finals week feels like a given, but can it be prevented with preparation and a smart attitude?

                    Though the answer is an obvious ‘yes’ for most, finding the momentum to start thinking about testing now is exceptionally difficult. However, students who implement preparation strategies early on in order to lighten up the pressure-infused week definitely uphold that it is way worth the early work.

                    Maya Coyle ‘15 shares one of her mechanisms for staying on top of it: “[During spring break] I try to at least organize everything so I know what I have to do… kind of making a plan and organizing all the stuff you want to review really helps.”

                    The key to a positive mentality definitely is taking ‘I can do this’, and then doing it. Students experience success when they go in to a final knowing they can work a test to the best of their ability. Besides, very little hits a student harder than getting back a C marking on something they could have easily prepared better for.

                     Seniors are done with finals forever, so it’s safe to say they have basically mastered the area of mental organization. Cam Hastings ‘14 recalls, “The first thing you need to do is understand that there are some harder subjects and some easier subjects. You should understand what you need to study the most.”

                    These suggested strategies seem time-tested and virtually infallible, but the big difficulty many students face is actually making them happen. Being super busy (or a victim of procrastination) sends students down a funnel into painful cram sessions. How can one possibly make time to sit down and study when an assessment is distant weeks away? Skipping practices or cutting out a Tuesday night T.V. show to make room for an hour of study? Never.

                    Savannah Swanson ‘17 shares a smart strategy for not letting everything ride on the last minutes before a test: work it into your plans with friends. She says, “I study with other people, which really helps me because I remember things that I didn’t [before] that they remembered, and then we all share our ideas.”

                    Other students have found major success in studying collaboratively; holding preparation off is not an option if you have a pre-scheduled study session, and there is undeniable comfort in running one’s own ideas through a group to see if they make sense.

With smart strategies, attitudes going into finals totally don’t have to be doubtful. Students always find benefits in getting head start, because with preparation comes positivity.