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'How To' Study and Prepare for Finals

It may be the start of April, but it is also about that time to start preparing for finals. Finals is no doubt the worst time of the entire school term. And the reason is simply because you not only have to study all the information for one class in order to pass this last big test, but you have to do that for all your classes. And, to make it even worse, all of the tests are usually in the same week. Finals are stressful but I have a five tips that may ease your stress, and may even boost your grades up a few points. 

Plan Out When and What You Are Going to Study.
I’m making this post a month in advance because, for finals, I start to study a month in advance. This is because I am taking four classes which means I have to be able to take four different course’s tests about all the topics I learned in a semester. That is so much information, and if I leave it to be done last minute I will end up failing all of my finals which is not good. Get your planner out and not only schedule the time to study but what subject and topics you will be studying. If you don’t, you’re going to sit down and not know what to study. That will result in you becoming overwhelmed and not studying, or wasting time by trying to figure out what you need to study.

Make a Homemade Study Guide if One is Not Provided.
Some classes have professors that are nice enough to provide a study guide for the final, but sometimes you’re not so lucky. Instead of having to rely strictly on PowerPoints, old notes that might not make any since, and textbooks, create your own study guide. Skim through the old slides and notes in order to find out which topics were important and which topics you’re still not too sure about. That way, you’re not spending all your time perfecting something you already know very well, and you’re not missing any of the important topics that you know you need to understand in detail. Making study guides is one of the things that has been a useful tool for me and I have noticed my grades raise a bit since using this tool.

Don’t Work Yourself to Burn Out.
The worst thing you could do is study for two weeks straight and burn out right before the test. You will actually go down in flames and nobody wants that to happen. Take some time to enjoy the things you love. If that is working out, make some time to hit the gym or run around campus. If you love to read, make some time to read. Just do anything that you love to prevent burn out.

Don’t Cram the Night Before.
So, you didn’t follow my first piece of advice and now finals are a week away and you have not studied. Here is what you do. If you have about a week til finals, study a little bit for the classes that you feel pretty confident about. And then study a lot for the classes you don’t feel good enough about. If you have only a few days and only enough time to study for a class or two, pick the ones that you feel if you could make an A in. It’s better to make an A in one class and a B- in another rather than making a B in all of your classes because you tried to perfect the material in the hard classes as well your easier classes. It’s kind of like you have to evaluate the situation you are in and choose which classes you can ace and which classes you can pass and be okay. But whatever you do, don’t cram for a test. All it is going to do is make your brain metaphorically turn to mush, and then you’re not going to get enough sleep for a reboot and your judgement will be clouded during the test. That is only going to hurt you.

Take Finals Seriously.
I know that sounds so weird but when you are overwhelmed, you can come to a breaking point of ‘screw this I’m going to wing it.’ Don’t do that. Cry, scream, break, but don’t give up. Finals are very important and you need to take this seriously. Just think, in a week you can sleep for a whole 18 hours but right now you need to study. And it is going to suck, but it is so worth it.

We Are Not Predestined.

I have often debated how much of my life do I leave to God’s control. Am I supposed to be just a puppet in the hands of God? And many pastors who have preached about this subject have said yes, which was the confusing part. You see, I’m so worried about living God’s way and fulfilling God’s plan that I don’t want to do anything wrong or mess anything up. There was this quote I found not too long ago that said, “you give yourself too much credit if you think you can ruin the plan God has for you.” So, naturally, I took that as, “hmm maybe I should give up everything to God.” If it’s supposed to happen, it’s going to happen. I didn’t realize though that the plan God has for me is not actually a plan at all. It’s a journey that is meant to teach me and has goals. But the paths to get to those goals are all defined by different plans that are a result from the choices I make.

While God should be influencing my life, I should still be the one living it. If I don’t work and dedicate myself to God’s plan, then He is going to wait patiently until I do decide to work hard and earn what He has in store for me. You see, God has a plan for me. But God has multiple plans for me with different directions that all lead me to what I dedicate myself to achieve. And each plan has its own trials, failures, road block, and struggles. Each plan is going to force you to fail, learn, and grow. It might be in different ways, but you’re going to have to go through these things because that’s what builds you as a human being. The reason you can’t solely rely on God to just hand over your prize is because you have free will. He granted you that, you are not just some robot who was programmed to do a certain something.

Stop using “God’s Plan” as your excuse not to work. You’re not entitled to anything that He gives you. And that should only make you work ten times harder. There is no such thing as predestination in Christianity. If you give it your all and it doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t supposed to happen. And that’s part of God’s plan. But you had to of give it your all first in order to find this out. And usually when you do put all your effort and determination into something and it doesn’t work out the way you wanted, then something usually better comes along.

So what should you just give up to God? Everything that is out of your control. Put your anxieties and worries, where you’re going to live in the next year, where your next job will be, or literally anything else that you cannot control on to God. Do your best, put everything you have in it, go the extra 20 miles, and continue to work hard. Finish to the point where you can look back and honestly say there was nothing more you could do and then trust God. If you get it when you believe your supposed to, great. If you don’t, don’t worry. You tried your best and now you have to do more, but now is when the trust in God kicks into you. If I don’t get into the dental school I want, but I look back and say I could not have done anything better, then I have to trust God because I know this detour is all apart of His plan even if I do not agree with it.

God has a plan for you. But those plans include you failing and falling apart. He knows that when you fail, you also learn. And He is trying to teach you something that you’re going to need to know in the future. But just because He has a plan for you doesn’t mean you don’t have to work. You only achieve His plan when you work. He’s like a parent, He will guide you through and give advice and supply you with everything you need to succeed except for the hard work. He’s not going to do it for you, you still have to pull your own weight or you will never feel like you achieved anything.