Why Cramming for Finals is not a Good Idea…and that’s Final

By Sarah Hoffbeck

With the 2012 holiday season just around the corner, finals season will soon be upon your college student as well. Nothing like ushering in the holiday spirit by staying up all night cramming for that final exam the next day.

While we’ve all heard that cramming for finals is not optimal for really learning and retaining information, who hasn’t pulled an all-nighter, cramming in bits of information until your brain is about to explode? While tempting, falling into the trap of putting off studying for one more night until finally there are no more nights left, is a bad habit that needs to be whipped in the bud!

Here are a few tips to not-so-subtly drop to your college-aged son or daughter over the next few weeks, while they’re home for hunting season or Thanksgiving, to get them thinking about final examinations.

  • Do they know what will be on the final exam? Will it be a cumulative test, or a test covering recent topics? Will it be open-book, or a take-home exam? If your college student gives you that deer-in-the-headlights look, tell them to ask their professor about what will be on the final exam or how they should best prepare for the final. Most professors are truly interested in their students’ success and will give some insight into how to study for the exam.
  • Stay away from major distractions while studying. This includes TV, social media (yes, that means Facebook and Twitter) and video games. Turn everything off, or at least down. One glance at Facebook and you could potentially lose hours of study time.
  • Quiz yourself. I know it sounds lame, but make flashcards or enlist the help of your roommate or younger brother or sister. New research shows that being tested is what really helps you retain information and not the hours of cramming.
  • Sleep! Make sure to sleep. Overnight cramming sessions are not ideal. Just imagine dragging yourself into class on an hour of sleep and a few pots of coffee. A hazy nightmare. If you put aside an hour or two every night now, you will save yourself in the long run.

Finals week at NDSCS in both Wahpeton and Fargo is the week of December 9-15, 2012. For additional study tips or for study help, check out the Academic Services Center located on the second floor of the NDSCS Mildred Johnson Library in Wahpeton. The Enrichment Tutoring Services Room, located at the NDSCS-Fargo location, provides five hours of tutoring daily, Monday through Friday.

Well, it’s now or never—good luck on preparing for finals week Wildcats! Study hard and do well.

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