finals week

Finals Week

So, it’s the last class before finals and your professor is finishing up for the semester. You’re like:

Then the professor announces that the final is cumulative. You look at the prof like:

You go home for the weekend and decide that finals don’t really exist…

…because studying makes you feel like:

So decide to take a nap, when one of your friends comes by and asks for help studying, but you’re still not motivated…

…until you realize that your final is tomorrow!

So you study for hours straight and then you’re like…

The next day you walk into your final all confident and such. You’re feeling awesome like:

But then you get the test and you look at the first question…

That definitely was not on the study guide. So you decide to see how everyone else around you is doing, but you can’t just straight up look at someone else’s test, so you pretend to think and glance at the test next to you…

But you notice the professor staring at you, so you look at them like:

And the prof is all amused like…

…because they knew the study guide they gave out was incomplete.

So you spend way too much time thinking, and suddenly you come up with an answer:

But the test is over, you’re asked to leave. And you’re like:

Later that day you go online to check your grade for the exam. You’re waiting for the page to load like:

And then you see your grade…

…which has you like:

But hey, you tried your best and there’s always next semester so you’re like:

Hope you all enjoyed this little gif story. I decided to make it instead of studying for my own finals lol #procrastination

Now get back to studying!

anonymous asked:

Any unique tips you can give for memorizing stuff the day before a final?

If it is the day before the final you have one huge advantage: sleep.

Going over stuff right before you go to sleep, boosts your memorization powers like whoa. I’m a very last-minute kind of person, so here is my personal recipe for last-minute cramming:

1) Get the big picture
I know the devil’s in the details, but you should have a vague idea of what’s actually going on. Skim over ALL the materials. Not only will it give you a sense of urgency, it will also give you the certainty that you have technically seen everything you need to see. Now you only need to understand it.

2) Zoom in on the black holes
Memorizing is nice, but it usually won’t work if you don’t understand what you’re trying to memorize. Now it’s time to go for the details. Fill the gaping holes in your structure of understanding. Why did the king decide to go war in that year? Why is the mass not involved in this formula? Why did the experiment go like that? Use all the resources you can find and don’t forget that the Internet is your friend. Google it, YouTube it, put your question on a forum, really illuminate those dark corners in your brain.

3) Treat yourself like an idiot
Once you have a rudimentary understanding of where this fact stands in the big picture, what it is composed of and why it came to be, you only need to engrave it in your mind. Take a blank piece of paper and start to formulate questions to which your facts are the answers. Then walk away for a few minutes, let your mind go black. Now go back. Start answering those questions in random order. Mix hard and easy questions. Go crazy. Talk out loud while you write down the right answers with proper explanations. Lead yourself through the process. Do everything you can to make this particular fact stand out against the others: doodle your explanation, use a jingle, make it rhyhme, give real-word examples of theories, make up stories and structures, anything that is so you that you will remember it no matter what. The important thing is that you assign every little fact its rightful place in your mind. It has to make sense to you.

Example: I watched loads of anime, so when I had to remember that in some languages (e.g. Japanese) a syllable always has to end in a vowel sound, I only remembered one word:


(If it’s vocabulary, use the words in model sentences and then write a text using the words in a different context. Again: talk to yourself (or someone else). This is the most effective way to retain information.)

You don’t know what you think you know
If you still have enough time, explain the parts of the material that you know to yourself and you will most likely find new (albeit smaller) gaps for which you can repeat 3).

5) Boil it down
Now comes the important part: you’ve gone from big picture to small details to questioning on a base level. Now you need to strip it down to the nitty-gritty. Get one seperate piece of paper and write down the most important key words or steps of a formula in a format you feel comfortable with: this can be a
2.1. structure, a mind map, words splatterd randomly on the paper, whatever works for you.

6) Go to bed
Get yourself ready to go to sleep. Clear your mind, do not think of the material for 15 minutes or so. Now slip under your blanket and go over your memory sheet from 5). Let the connections flow freely at this point, remember how you derived this theory or how that structure came to be, recall your doodles and stories and jingles, enjoy how things make so much more sense than before. Now go over your Q&A-Sheets again to solidify your thoughts from before. Take approx 10 minutes for this, so that it can really  sink in. Look up, close your eyes, take one last look at your memory sheet, turn off the light and let sleep and your brain do the rest.

For me, it also helps to scan everything again the next morning, just to be on the safe side.
Good luck with your finals and sleep well!

Exam Tips:

Common Mistakes & Improving Exam Performance:

Lots of people don’t do as well in exams and tests as they would like to and hopefully this post will give you some answers and tips. To find out where you’ve gone wrong and how you can improve you need to reflect carefully on your past exams. Look back and think about how things went. Refer to feedback on exams or coursework if they’re available to you. If you don’t understand some of the comments then try and meet with the marker or a personal tutor to elaborate on them for you.If one of your friends got a particularly good mark you can ask to have a look at their work so that you can see what made their work get that mark and use it improve your own.

Try to do something about the faults you’ve identified in your work. Many of the causes of poor exam performance are easy to correct once identified.

There are a number of reasons for getting poor exam marks, a few of which are outlined below:

Not answering the exact question can be due to failing to recognise specialist terms, failing to carry out the instruction of the question, or failing to address all aspects of the question. Make sure that you are considering all aspects of the question and that your work is well-planned. Explain what you understand the question to mean or try rewriting the question in your own words. Keep your writing to the point and make sure that you answer all elements of the question. Make sure that you include basic information such as terms and definitions to ensure marks. Consider the context of the question. At more advanced levels, issues might stem from not providing enough in-depth information, providing a descriptive rather than analytical answer, not setting a problem in the relevant context (something that we are always told in psychology) or not considering both sides of an argument or debate.

Poor time management involves failing to match the level of the answer (the weighting) to the time allocated and thus not having enough time to answer the question sufficiently well. To combat this look at the weightings of the different questions and and time of the exam to work out the time allocations for each question (sometimes this is stated on the paper and sometimes it isn’t). To do this translate the total exam time into minutes. Allocate some time to consider the questions to answer, and some to review at the end of the lecture (about 5 or 10% each) and subtract this from the overall time. Share the time that’s left over between the questions, giving more to those which are allocated more marks. You can review your answers all together at the end of the exam or after each individual answer (I prefer this method because it gives my hand a rest in between answers).

Failing to weigh the different parts of the answer correctly involves not recognising that one part of the question may be worth more marks than others and therefore should be allocated more time and more effort. To combat this develop an essay plan before you begin writing. We are always advised to spend the first five minutes of an exam reading the paper and coming up with answer plans for this exact reason.

Failing to provide evidence to support your argument. Some subjects will require this more than others (psychology for example requires a lot of evidence in essays) so you should realise when material needs support in order to receive marks. Again this can be solved by developing a proper essay plan.

Incomplete answers involve failing to answer the question properly and not considering the topic in sufficient depth. To combat this people need to develop a better revision strategy, or a better understanding of the thinking required at university level of education.

Providing irrelevant information is basically “waffling” in your answer to fill in the space. Avoid this by referring only to material which is directly relevant to the question at hand.

Poor English involves poor communication of ideas and can be improved by planning writing. In particular reading fiction seems to improve writing technique and we’ve had this recommended to us at university. There are also a lot of blogs available which focus on developing writing skills like writeworld.

Factual errors are generally caused by poor note taking, learning, revision, or recall so different study strategies are necessary to combat this. Have a look at my study tips tags here (X)(X).

Remember that the markers don’t want you to do poorly. They want you to succeed. Seeing little errors like the ones described above probably frustrate them as much as you. They can’t assume that you know information that you haven’t included on your paper.

Exam Nerves/Anxiety:
Try to think positively about the exam, develop a mantra and repeat it to yourself. Mine is that “I can do this. I have done the work. I know the material. I can do this.” 

Not feeling prepared is one of the most common causes for being nervous about exams. Many people begin to panic. When time is limited, effective use of it is vital. Create a revision timetable that helps you optimise your activities and stick to it. So many people create timetables and then don’t use them. Spend time with others in your class to exchange ideas about what’s worth studying and to share answers. Be strategic in your approach to the work; pinpoint critical subjects from lectures and handouts, make sure you have a basic understanding, focus on key facts, and then finally, if you have time, add details and examples.

Another cause of failure anxiety can be perfectionism (something I struggle with). Exams have time limits and tough marking criteria and I’ve had to force myself to realise that with these constraints my work will never be perfect under exam conditions (not that it ever is). Don’t go into an exam expecting to produce perfection. Don’t spend too long planning an answer; yes, plan your answers (especially to essay questions) but only spend a few minutes on this. Don’t spend too long on the initial parts of an answer-focus on actually answering the question. 

Sleeplessness is another cause. Make sure that you get enough sleep and don’t stay up revising before an exam. Make sure that you eat something, but nothing too heavy or you might be uncomfortable. Confirm dates and times of exams; take a walk to the exam room to familiarise yourself with the routine of the exam day, If you start panicking in the exam, try some relaxation techniques and then return to your paper. If you still feel bad explain how you feel to an invigilator and ask if you can go for a supervised walk outside or something. If you have problems with the wording of a question see if a representative of the department can help you understand the question. Don’t panic when you’ve got five minutes left, you can write a lot in that time; keep writing until you are told that you have to stop. If you do need to use the toilet don’t be embarrassed, just go and you’ll feel more comfortable when you return (taken from my post on anxiety here)

Before the Exam:

Make sure that you’ve revised well prior to the exam. Study guides are great materials to begin with because they list all of the topics that you’re expected to revise so you can cross each off as you finish that section. Make your way through the topics, allocating more time to the ones which you struggle with but not ignoring those you find easy. Remember just because you know a topic when you revise it doesn’t mean you’ll remember it in the exams. Information we think we have stored in memory can be lost so keep going over the material to keep it fresh and to consolidate it into longer term memory.

It’s always tempting to use the day before the exam for las minute cramming but please don’t do this. Use this alst day to relax and slowly go through material/notes. Don’t introduce any new material at this point. Take a bath/shower to relax. Maybe go on a walk. This is the day to get yourself mentally prepared for the exam.

The Exam Day:

When it comes to the exam day make sure that you know what you have to do. For some exams you may need to register or sign in so arrive with time to do that. For others you may need time to find your seat.

During the Exam:

Make sure that you enter the exam well prepared. Take in a bottle of water and wear clothes that you’re comfortable in; you could be sat there for several hours depending on the exam. Make sure that you’ve eaten breakfast, but not so much that you’re uncomfortably full. Check that you have any IDs or stationary that you need to take in with you and that you know the location (it might be worth taking a walk to the location a few days before so that you know how long the journey takes and you definitely know where you’re going).

Read the rubric of the paper so that you know how many questions you’re expected to answer, whether each answer is in a different answer book, whether there are any rules to question selection (only one per section or something like that). Look carefully at all of the questions and, if you have a choice, choose which questions you can best demonstrate your knowledge and skills on. Work out the order in which you’re going to answer your questions (best first, worst first, fact based first, etc). I usually go with the best question first because it lifts my mood and gives me time to think about more difficult questions while I write my answer. Also writing that answer might make me remember material for the other questions too.

If you get thirsty in the exam then drink but try not to drink loads because you’ll make yourself uncomfortable. Spend a few minutes planning your answers but don’t make these too elaborate and make sure you cross them out before the end of the exam. If there are standard abbreviations that you can use, do use them but remember to define the abbreviation the first time that you use it in the essay. Keep an eye on the time so that you know how much is left. Consider the speed of your writing; yes you want your exam to be readable but there’s no point in wasting valuable time writing slowly so that it’s neat. Markers are not going to give you extra marks for your penmanship; as long as it’s readable it’s good.

When you’re actually in the exam, everyone has from time to time faced the dreaded mind blank. If this happens, leave a black space and come back to it later. Alternatively, brainstorm connections from things you do know about the subject, work from the basics and ask yourself “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” Look for associations; read through the other questions and material; they might trigger your memory (this is the one that I tend to use) and get on with the other questions if you can.

When it comes to the end of an exam most people like to leave as soon as they can. But you should use this left over time to review your answers. As you’re reading and checking your answers you might notice mistakes or you might remember more relevant material which can be added using a footnote and an asterisk (*). This time can be used to check that you’ve numbered your questions and filled in your details on the paper correctly (even if this seems basic people get this wrong; only this week people wrote the wrong year on their exams and some wrote their answers in the wrong answer books so it’s always worth checking). Check your spelling and grammar. Sometimes markers can be lenient in spelling and grammar but there are times when they’re not (especially with key terms that you should know how to spell). Reading your answer will also tell you whether you structured it well and if you answered the question correctly and fully.

After the exam:

After the exam is finished it’s always tempting to spend lots of time with friends comparing your answers. However, this can be a bad idea because it can make you feel as though you’ve written the wrong answers and if you have more exams to come, this feeling really won’t help you. Feel free to discuss the exam and how it went but don’t let yourself feel down about it. After all the exam is over and at that point there is no way to know definitely how you’ve done and there’s nothing that can be done to change anything until results are given out.