What Does It Really Take?

Congratulations, it takes a brave person to admit that they really have what it takes to go all the way. I realize that we’re approaching the end of the semester, so for some of you, your grade is nearly set in stone. But let’s not dwell on the past, on what you scored on your past few exams. If you have a chance to lock in that A, lock in that B, or for some of you, lock in a pass instead of a fail, I’ve compiled a set of quick and somewhat obvious tips to help you prepare for your final exam.

Why bother if it’s obvious? I don’t know about you, but I used to be so stressed during finals, I once forgot my name. No joke. Perhaps you knew these tips in the back of your mind, perhaps you know them even now, but still need a reminder. Well… here is your kick in the rear

1- Don’t wait till the last minute!

If you have 3 days, or even 3 weeks remaining till finals, START PREPARING NOW!!

Create a schedule detailing your free days, classes, and required chapters/topics, and make sure it all fits

2- Build In The Extra Time For Trouble

Accidents never check the calendar. If something can go wrong, it’s likely to go wrong when you’re under stress. Anything from missing the bus, dog getting sick, laptop crashing, notes gone missing… be prepared

when planning your study schedule build in an extra hour each day for the unexpected. When breaking down your topics by day, BUILD IN EXTRA DAYS. You may PLAN to cover chapters 1-3 on Monday, but what if you don’t understand the material in Chapter 2? You’ll need the time to ‘get unstuck’ without falling behind on your schedule

3- Sleep is IMPORTANT!!

I remember one semester when I took 21 credits including classes like analytical chem, microbiology and more. I may have slept a total of 7 hours during finals week. By the time the last few finals came around I was seriously burnt out. Luckily I’d been carrying an A for the entire semester and my careless mistakes didn’t hurt too badly.

Don’t let this happen. Plan to study early, and plan to take naps

4- Space Your Studying Over Time

15 hours of last-minute cramming is less effective compared to 3 hours a day for 5 days. Give your brain a chance to absorb, process, and even forget. then fortify what you remember and remind yourself of what you forgot in each subsequent session. The ideal study sessions lasts 45-90 minutes followed by a break.

5- Just Because You Knew This 3 Weeks/Months Ago, Doesn’t Mean You Still Remember

I took French for 3 years in high school. I only remember about a dozen words today…

If you got an A on your first exam (or bombed it) don’t assume you still remember the information. Give yourself time to relearn, re-study, re-practice all the material you’ve covered from day 1 so that you can comfortably apply concepts, questions, reactions, reagents, and mechanisms on your final exam

6- Keep Your Chin Up

The final piece of advice is that this too shall pass. If you ace your final or bomb it. It’s NOT the end of the world. Worst case scenario you can retake the course and score a better grade second time around. Don’t let your upcoming organic chemistry final stress you out more than it has to. I have worked with many students choosing to retake the course, and YES they’ve made it into medical/dental/vet… school. You have just a few days/weeks left till your exam. Keep your chin up, push as hard as you can, and just do your best. I’m rooting for you

See you at the workshop,