The Captain's Log

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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

How to survive finals

Tips from a fellow Captain
Person studying, photo from Unsplash

Having finals in the middle of the holiday season is as soul stealing as it is a test of your endurance and patience. This time of the semester is prone to making you question your entire life path and choices until now no matter your academic standing. While it may seem hopeless, there are some tips that can help you survive onto the greener pastures that is Winter Break and the Spring semester on the other side.


  1. Identify Problem Areas

The first mistake is apportioning just about the same time to study for each class. While this might make some sense, this plan doesn’t address your personal strengths and weaknesses. Same goes for each class itself, if there are some units of the material that you have a better grasp on, there’s no reason to waste time on that when there might be a part of the class you know you’ll do poorly on. You’ll know where you’re the least confident, focus on that. Some exams will come earlier than others, it might just be the case that the hardest will be the soonest, take that into account.

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  • Explain the Material


What I find to be helpful for me, and something I do throughout the year, not just for finals, is actually trying to explain what I learned from a given class. If you have a parent, friend, or imaginary friend who is super interested in how you’ve been, you can use them as a measure of your own knowledge on the subject. If you have none of these, then you can simply organize the information like an oral presentation, which can also build the skills you need to recall information or plan an essay really quickly.

  • Know the Exam


For those lucky enough to be given the exam ahead of time, either in the form of a format or available question-set, please do not ignore this! Answer the questions as best as you can, with your notes in front of you, because that practice might just be the difference between a terrible, alright, and perfect answer when it comes to an exam’s essay questions.

  • Help Each Other


If you want to succeed in your studies, you need to use every advantage available to you, including classmates who’ve been around you for the past fourteen weeks. If there are friends you know who’ve been doing well, stick close to them through the reading days and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re not stupid either, there’s going to be something that you’ll find easier than others, and when the time comes that friend asks for your help, you should be willing to assist as needed.

  • Practice Good Health


When the exam week finally begins, you will probably see some students staying up late cramming or sobbing in a corner begging for this all to end. Do not give in to the temptation to join them. Studies have shown that the best test-taking strategy is to get a good night’s rest and to eat well beforehand. You don’t want to lose focus because of sleep-related exhaustion, or be distracted by an empty stomach. In all the stress of the exam period, you may forget to show up with a blue book and pen. Do your best to maintain good physical and mental health, you’re only human – do not neglect yourself.


These are only some of the tips you may consider throughout this critical period of the semester. It’s your choice to follow this advice or adopt your own strategy, but no matter what good luck on your exams Captains!

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