Preparing for Finals

Valley College students learn how to prepare for the final week of the fall semester.

By Alton Pitre, Staff Writer

The end of the fall semester is near, and that can only mean one thing— finals. Like a quiet storm, they come into campus and leave in their wake a big disaster for those students who did not properly prepare.

Finals at Valley College are from Dec. 9 to Dec. 15, and in preparation, students should study accordingly, but not before first marking their calendars. By doing so, this personally informs the student of how much he or she needs to study and remember in the time frame allotted.

“Spend some time reviewing what you have covered this semester and– very important –why you’ve covered it,” said Colorado State University’s instructor Darrel G. Fontane on “Teaching @ CSU’s” website in regards to his personal observations of studying research. “Then, rank the material into three categories: ‘vital’, ‘nice to know’, and ‘can get by without’.”

This analysis will help students to easily distinguish between information that is most and least significant. Final exams typically vary, based on the course and the instructor’s style, but normally cover everything that has been taught up to the point of the closing semester’s test. All information in a student’s notes or textbook may not always be necessary, but the main points are usually what students need to know.

Old Dominion University sums up final exam preparations with six simple tips: “create a study schedule, review previous tests, review your notes, review your text, form study groups and relax.”

In order to execute these tips, setting a realistic study timetable is a key component. Students should create a schedule that accommodates, or works around, their job schedules, social lives and recreational periods, while also making room for potential interruptions.

Reviewing covered materials, such as previous tests and notes and needed information in course textbooks, is also important. Many students panic during these stressful days of finals, instead of maintaining a calm demeanor. According to Old Dominion University, eating well and getting adequate amounts of sleep is vital in the relaxation stage.

Child development major Anthony Carter finds that he prefers practices his study habits in segments.

“For finals I usually study in sets,” Carter said. “I break down the chapters, take a break, then I go to the next set of chapters to study. Then, the day before [the final], I review everything.” Carter’s studying technique is effective for him, since he usually receives a B grade or better on his finals.

Utah State University Academic Resource Center estimates a student’s study hours based on the course difficulty for the student. They should be classified into levels of high (three points), medium (two points) and low (one point) difficulty, and how many total hours are spent in that class each week. To determine how many study hours per week are needed, multiple the points for difficulty by the number of hours spent in the class.

For example, if a course is rated as high in difficulty and is three hours per week, then it should equate to nine study hours per week. Add all the numbers together for a final total.

A quote from British writer Charles C. Colton explains proper preparation well.

“Examinations are formidable even to the best prepared, for the greatest fool may ask more than the wisest man can answer,” Colton said.

Students can find the final schedule on the Valley website or see their instructors.


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