APU professors shared their thoughts and opinions on how students should get prepared for final exams

As the end of the school year approaches, students and instructors from every institution have to deal with finals week. Some students take actual exams or work on big final projects. But regardless, finals week is the time when students experience high levels of stress and anxiety.

However, in the midst of this stressful season, APU professors have various thoughts and suggestions on how students should get themselves best prepared for their finals, in order for them to conquer this period of time successfully.

Professor of the biblical and religious studies department Michael Devries acknowledged self-care as the most important element of preparing for final exams.

“I would say that there are several things I would focus on. The first is to take care of yourself. I think sometimes we look at wanting to do as well as we can, so we cram so much and we lose sleep. Sleep is really important for you for test taking, and you recall things even better when you have rest. So I would say take care of yourself is number one, eat and sleep,” Devries said.

Devries shared some of his own strategies on how students should study for their final exams.

“As for studying for your finals, it has been proven by studies that it is better to have short bits of studying rather than long bits of studying.” Devries said.  “Don’t think that you can maintain a great focus on your subject for 5-6 hours of studying. So I would say pace yourself and take care of yourself.”

Windy Petrie, professor of the english department agreed with Devries’ viewpoint regarding self-care and studying strategically for final exams.

“I would say the best advice is to take your studying in smaller chunks of times rather than to cram everything in longer period of times, so your brain will work better if you get up and take a little walk or a break,” Petrie said. “I would say self-care is important as well, get sleep, because it is not going to do you too much good as staying up all night and your brain is not clear in the morning. I’m saying this as a mom as much as a professor. I have kids at home that I’m reminding them to do the same thing.”

Petrie explained some strategic learning techniques for students to be able to determine how to best master the knowledge they have learned to prepare for the final exams.

“Don’t try to create new things, but if you do create something new, you can rewrite in your own handwriting. It is going to make you recall things better and test yourself on how much you remember of what you have studied, so you know what you need to review and what you have already mastered,” Petrie said.

Andrea Ivanov-Craig, also an english professor, shared some tips for students to also skillfully and strategically for their final exams, agreeing with the other professors about having good self-care going into final exams.

“Students should be aware of how much is the final exam worth out of their course grade and study for it based on that. If you have regularly done your work, you shouldn’t worry,” Ivanov-Craig said. “The other thing is pray, exercise, even if it means walking and breathing for 20 minutes outside in the fresh air, and sleep as much as possible.”

Pamela Fisher, journalism professor, demonstrated some specific skills and strategies in terms of test taking, in order for students to have a better sense of how to prepare themselves and learn the materials more efficiently.

“So I think it is really good to go into the final week having a plan. If there are classes you need to memorize a lot of facts, make sure you put them together on index card with key points on them, and very often there are chapter summaries and texts that you can work from to create bullet points to memorize,” Fisher said. “If it is going to be a blue book/essay style exam, prepare yourself in advance for thoughts about the questions that might be answered, and keep passages from texts that you want to cite.”

Fisher affirmed the necessity of having sufficient sleep as a part of self-care for finals week.

“Make sure you are sleeping, because if you do not sleep at least 7 hours a night, your memory will suffer and you won’t be able to retain information that you have spent too much time studying, memory is sleep dependent,” Fisher said.

With these valuable advices and suggestions from the professors, students should try their best to apply them into their lives and practice these skills daily, so that not only can they get well-prepared for their final exams, but also maintain a healthy lifestyle.