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Survival of the fittest

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Finals week is looming around the corner. According to Murphy’s Law, something can and will go wrong. Not all professors are forgiving of silly mistakes and will not accept excuses, so take many precautions and be completely prepared for a week of non-stop fun.

Get rid of stress

Finals week means studying, studying, stress and studying. See the one that doesn’t fit in? Try to eliminate that one, because you don’t need it. This may be an obvious statement, but it needs to be reiterated. When you stress out about finals week, you get distracted from doing your best. Do not have this happen, because you want to do your absolute best. Throughout the week, you will have spare time in which studying is probably your first priority, but consider taking some time out to do activities which are calming, such as working out, reading or watching TV. Taking time off of a worrisome subject will energize you to get back into it.

Sleep well

When studying, do not lose excessive sleep. Sleep is key during finals week. Being well-rested is one of the most important ways you can help yourself do well on exams. If you stay up the night before your calculus test trying to learn everything you didn’t during the semester, you will not do as well as you could have if you slept well. There will be those out there who say they can achieve the same success with a little or a lot of sleep. Ignore them, because they are wrong.

Pace your studying

Finals week is not a surprise event that all of the professors at the University of Massachusetts decided they would throw this semester. You should not be so unprepared that you do your only studying the night before your final. Balance the end of semester work with studying for your tests until the big day and you’ll find that you are considerably more ready than you would have been if you had only crammed.

Be organized

Always know exactly when every last project, essay and final is due or taking place. This is unbelievably simple, but so easy to mess up. It really is. Do not incorrectly record the time, date, or room of anything. Do not show up thinking you’re going to take a French grammar final when you’re actually supposed to take a French history final. Do not get confused and think your linguistics final is on Tuesday, prompting your TA to email you asking where you were during the exam. Just don’t do it.

Know what you need

If you know the class will have a Scantron final, take multiple pencils. If your final project is a group effort, do it as far in advance as you possibly can so you have time to review and make changes to any silly errors. An essay will require revising, so leave a few days in which editing is possible. If, while studying, you find that you have points of concern, go to your professor’s office hours or email your professor. They will be happy to answer your questions, just as long as it isn’t on the same day as the exam. Leave early for your exam so you don’t run into the examination room sweaty and breathless. Get a seat you are comfortable in, like a desk suitable for a lefty or a righty. It is important to be ready for any situation, which may sound impossible, because it is. But don’t be daunted. Finals week is just a regular week with tests. Be prepared for them and you’ll do fine. Happy finals week, and may the tests be ever in your favor.

Araz Havan can be reached at ahavan@student.umass.edu.

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