Master Plan: Studying for Finals

Like a flash, the end of the school year is coming. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel; summer is just within our reach. Right before that light though lies an obstacle course of a dreaded thing we call “Final Exams.” These “Finals” determine whether we reach the end of the tunnel. At first glance, it seems a huge hassle and impossible to maneuver through. However, with a Master Plan and a little bit of work (depends on how often you went to class), we can all get through it fine. This article will go through some steps to write up your master plan to success in taking Finals.

When are your Finals?
The first step in your master plan is to find out when your finals are. Most universities and professors have a pre-set date for the final exam that they include in the syllabus which is distributed in the beginning of the year. If you don’t have one you should ask your professor or T.A. If you do have one, make sure that is still the date. Mark all your final exam dates on your calendar. Most professors and universities give very little leeway in moving or taking make-up exams for finals. But if you really have a conflict or a personal emergency you should always try to talk to your professors to solve it.

What is your style of studying?
Depending on the professor, you may be able to move your finals to accommodate how you like to study. I will identify two schedules of finals and the recommended master plan to study for them. If finals are crammed all into one or two days, then you should adopt a “fair and balanced” method of studying. If your finals are spaced 3 or 4 days apart, then you should adopt the “focused and narrow” method.

Fair and Balanced
After marking your final dates on your calendar, the next step is to plan a study schedule. As mentioned above, if your finals are creamed into one or two days, I recommend using the “Fair and Balanced” method of studying. For example, if you had 4 finals all within a two day period, you should study all four classes for the days leading up to the finals. Allow about a whole 5-7 days of studying for these classes. Your daily studying schedule might look like this:

10:00 am: Wake Up and sit around to soak in the day. Make sure you’re not sleepy anymore.
10:30 am: Check the news, watch your TV, email and etc to get your fill of that good stuff
11:00 am: Start studying (Tip: Find a quiet place to study, removed from distractions such as TV, computer and music.) for Class 1
1:00 pm: Eat Lunch. Give yourself plenty of time to frolick with friends or you’ll feel you need it later.
2:30 pm: Study for Class 2
4:30 pm: Take a Break
5:00 pm; Study for Class 3
7:00 pm; Dinner Time-Again relax and take your time.
9:00 pm; Study for Class 4
11:00 pm: Call it a night and do whatever you want. Take advantage of the last days of school.

Your schedule doesn’t have to follow this exactly, but the main takeaway from this plan is that you have to spread out your studying among your classes if you have them coming up at the same time. Noted, some classes don’t need to be studied for as long as others. So allocate more time to other classes depending on how much you feel you need to study for it. The amount of studying needed varies from person to person so gauge yourself as you know yourself best.

Focused and Narrow
If your finals are spread out such that you have about 3 to 4 days between finals, you may want to adopt the focused and narrow method. This method calls for studying for only the class with the final coming up and not the others. The benefits of this method is that you can focus on one subject and take things one step at a time. Your schedule should still follow the one above. Leave plenty of time to enjoy yourself and don’t cram. Get plenty of sleep but don’t sleep so early such that you’ll miss out on other good fun.

Results from Master Plans
Having studied is better to not studying. Having a master plan is better than having no plan at all. Now that you have a plan, go in taking your test with confidence because with confidence at least if you write a “BS” answer on your test, you can “BS” with great confidence.

I stress to not stress. Leave yourself plenty of time to enjoy your last days at college before you go back home. Making grades is important but so is enjoying college. As a wise man once said, “Balance is the key.”

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