by Alison Yip
Finals, the only thing separating students from a long vacation, cause great stress to many students. Finals is the final exam culminating content from the beginning of the year to end of the semester. Why are finals such a stressful experience?
Some students are intimidated by the idea of a final because it’s the last test and it determines the final semester grade and also because the entire week is filled with back-to-back testing. Also, this test has added pressure because there is no way for a student to make up the grade if they do not do well in the final. The final is viewed as the all or nothing test because either you improve your grade or the grade drops. This very last test of the semester is brutal just because it’s the last component of your final grade and like the saying it’s either you “make it or break it”. More often than not, students take the test and do not look back and will not know their grade until the report card comes in the mail. The back to back testing for three days straight gives little time for students to relax as they run to each final.
But the reality is that finals shouldn’t be as stressful as students make it out to be. A final is not a test on the new material; it’s a test on old material. In most classes, the material taught is always used and it’s always applied to some aspect of class. If it’s review and usually practiced, why stress? Know what you have to study and spend more time on it. Do not focus heavily on what you’re comfortable with. By spending time on what you know well, it’s just wasting time, wasting time that could’ve been spent on other material. For those finals where each topic is unrelated to the next, I just do light review on what’s unfamiliar. Once you learn it, you don’t forget it. Light review would jog your memory. Most of the stress comes from thinking that you will forget the material or blank out on the test. But, if you focus on the positive, you’ll feel better going into the test and the light review would boost your confidence.
Finals are not something to stress over. It’s a couple days of testing on content you’ve learned throughout the year. Keep calm but study smart and keeping a positive mindset with music and whatever it is that you do to keep calm. Good luck on finals!