Final exams are just another test


Although summer vacation is near, getting excited about it during this time of year is easier said than done with the looming doom of finals upon us.

During my past three years here at the University, I have experienced my share of demanding finals weeks, characterized by sleepless nights, coffee guzzling and, worst of all, feelings of anxiety that have sometimes made me question my own sanity.

Sounds like a nightmare, doesn’t it? I’m sure all students have been there, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. 

After receiving some sage advice from an unlikely source, I now realize that I don’t have to be consumed by the finals hysteria like I have been in the past.

And neither does the rest of the student body.

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    Ironically, the guidance I received came from someone who never attended college. In fact, this person hasn’t taken a final exam since she graduated from high school in 1980, but please don’t let this disqualify her immense wisdom. This insight came from the same individual who has been there to astutely counsel me so many times before — my mom.

    “Honey, make sure not to kill yourself over finals. I don’t care how much they are worth, at the end of the day, it’s just another test,” my mother told me this past weekend.

    This advice, while simple on the surface, has completely redefined how I look at final examinations all together.

    Instead of viewing finals as the mother lode of all exams, which demands sacrificing our mental health over, we should approach them the same way we would any other test.

    Think about it, besides their increased weight on your final grades, what makes them so different from taking any other test?  

    The answer is simple: absolutely nothing.

    Similar to lesser weighted exams that we frequently take during the course of a semester, many instructors often tell us what content will be on our finals, the date that we have to take the exam and how much time we will have to complete the test.

    Therefore, we should forget the fact that these exams could potentially be worth up to 40 percent of our grades and remember that a final exam is really just another test.

    For those of you skeptics out there who claim it is impossible to treat a test that is worth nearly half of your grade the same way as you would a quiz that is only worth five percent, for example, take a moment and think about how athletes approach the biggest games of their careers.

    In sports, it is common for athletes confronted with career-defining contests to approach these matchups with the mind-set that they are just playing another game, like they have countless times before. Whether this means preparing for a preseason exhibition game or a championship game, many competitors make it a priority to maintain the perspective that no matter how big of a stage they are performing on, the game is sill the same.  

    By upholding this mind-set, athletes are able to maintain their sanity by retaining their normal preparation routines, which has proven to be an effective means for achieving success when confronted with what seem like astronomical challenges.

    Take, for example, three-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. While discussing how he was handling his preparation for the 2012 Super Bowl at a press conference, he was adamant that while the game was the Super Bowl to everyone else, to him and his teammates, it was just another football game.  

    For me, personally, I have a hard time picturing Brady pulling all-nighters at the Patriots’ facilities or excessively indulging in poor “study habits” to prepare for the Super Bowl. Instead, it is much more feasible to imagine that Brady made it a top priority not to get caught up in the chaos of such a hyped event and, instead, stuck to his normal preparation routine. 

    Brady’s composed attitude when facing such a daunting challenge such as the Super Bowl can teach students a thing or two about how to prepare for finals.

    So, this finals season, heed the warning of my mother’s advice and remember that ultimately, finals are just like any other exam. Don’t kill yourself in preparation for these tests but, instead, prepare for them as you would any other.

    Jed is a junior in Media. He can be reached at [email protected].