THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

fi·nal
/ˈfīnl/ 
noun
plural noun: finals
  1. The time of the year that students usually brush under the rug until it comes and bites them in the butt.
  2. The time of the year that fills the air with anxiety, prayers, panic, stress-induced illnesses, and regret because you have no choice but to accept the fact that, yes, you should have studied harder for those previous midterms.
  3. The time of the year when it’s completely normal and okay to find college students sleeping flat out on the floor of the library, while they use their backpacks as pillows because they just finished their 3rd all-nighter of the week.
  4. The time of the year that students transform into zombies, living off of energy drinks, caffeine, and pizza from Papa John’s, while frantically calculating the minimum grade they have to make on the final exam to passthe class.
  5. The time of the year when a whole week is full of (more often than not, cumulative) exams, and students have multiple mental breakdowns.

pass: the way pre-medical students are wired to think: to “pass” means to receive an A in the class.


How to Play

Objective: The goals of this game are quite simple.

  1. Survive with the least amount of mental breakdowns.
  2. Achieve your desired grades.

Players: Students of all ages.

Opponent: Your exams.

Game Field: 

Bedroom – For sleeping, and for sleeping ONLY. Do not study here. You WILL fall asleep or manage to convince yourself that it’s okay to take a 5-minute nap, when you know that it will turn into a 5-hour nap.

Classroom – If you have any classes left, go to class. This is not the time to be skipping.

Kitchen – Meal prepping of HEALTHY AND BRAIN-STIMULANT FOODS.

Coffee shops, Study Rooms, & Library  – ideal spots to study because here, you will be less likely to doze off. These are also the perfect spots to study in a group!

Labs & Auditoriums – where you take your exams.

Game Contents:

  • Laptop & Charger
  • Alarm Clock
  • Textbooks
  • Blank Legal Pads
  • White board
  • Planner/Calendar
  • Pens, pencils, markers, highlighters, erasers
  • Backpack
  • Notebooks (if you take notes)
  • Earphones
  • Cell phone & Charger

Strategy:

  1. DEVISE A PLAN. I cannot stress this enough. Mark your calendars of when your finals are so that you have a visual countdown of how much time you have left to prepare for each exam. Create a “study schedule template.” For each exam, you should give yourself at least a week to study. Study for 2 exams a day.

For example: Today is April 24th.

Your exams: Biology (May 2nd), Organic Chemistry (May 3rd), Marketing (May 4th), and Humanities (May 4th)

April 25th: You have a week before your Biology final. Start studying for Biology and Organic Chemistry.

April 26th: You have a week before your Organic Chemistry final. Continue studying for Biology and Organic Chemistry.

April 27th: You have a week before your Marketing and Humanities final. Start studying for Marketing and Humanities. Lightly read over Biology.

April 28th: Study for Biology and Organic Chemistry. Lightly read over either Marketing or Humanities.

April 29th: Study for Marketing and Humanities. Lightly read over either Biology or Organic Chemistry.

April 30th: Study for Biology and Organic Chemistry. This is your last day to heavily study for Biology.

May 1st: Study for Marketing and Humanities. Lightly review for Biology.

May 2nd: You take your Biology final. You’re tired. I know. You still have to study, but only for Organic Chemistry.

May 3rd: You take your Organic Chemistry final. You are exhausted. This is the last push. Study for Marketing and Humanities.

May 4th: May the fourth be with you as you finish the semester by taking your last two finals.

Of course, it is up to you to adjust as you wish.

2. Quick study tips for final exams.

  • If you follow my advice and study for two exams a day: Reserve 4-8 hours a day solely for studying, so that would give you 2-4 hours of studying for each exam. Sounds like a lot right? Actually, not really. Bring your study materials wherever you go, if you can. Those free minutes in your day do add up.
  • If you’re like me, and you can sit in one place and study for hours on end, make sure to take quick exercise breaks. Stretch and do jumping jacks to get that blood flowing and oxygen to your brain!
  • Study in a place where you have no distractions. Put away your phone. You have all the time during the upcoming break to spend your days on your phone. Right now, you need to be studying.

3. STUDYING RESOURCES/MATERIALS– If you made midterm reviews for your subjects throughout the semester, now would be a good time to pull those out. If you didn’t:

  • Buy a legal pad for every subject you have a final exam for. Luckily, they’re super cheap, and you can get a pack of 3 for $1.00. Thanks, Walmart (not an ad)! You will use this as your “master study guide” for each class.
  • Break it down for each subject. If your final is cumulative, split your subject into units. For example, for the first day that you study for Biology, study the material you covered on your first midterm in that class – and so on, and so forth.
  • Look over any past homework assignments, quizzes, and exams, if possible. Make note of the concepts you do not fully understand, and focus on those.
  • Skim over your textbooks. Read your old notes for the details. Take notes on your legal pad, and annotate your own notes! Doing so helps a lot!!!!!
  • Constantly look for patterns within the material you are studying. See if you can compile those patterns into charts or mnemonics.
  • Flash cards are great for memorizing definitions.
  • Whoever invented white boards is/was a genius. USE WHITEBOARDS! They are very useful for a key study method: repetition. You can also use them for math, drawing out processes, etc.

4. EAT HEALTHY

I know that as stressed out students during finals, we tend to resort to junk food, such as pizza, coffee, and fast food. Don’t do it! Reserve one day with your friends where you buy groceries, cook, and prepare healthy food for a whole week!

While you are studying, here are some snacks you can munch on to boost your brain power:

  • Apples (this wakes you up better than coffee!)
  • Chocolate (preferably dark chocolate)
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts (almonds, macadamia, roasted peanuts)
  • Avocados
  • Trail mix
  • String cheese
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Greek yogurt
  • Moderate amounts of coffee

5. SLEEP

Although in some cases, this task may seem impossible, you need sleep if you ever want to retain all the information you studied. You need 6-8 hours of sleep. The more REM sleep you get, the more information you will retain. Absolutely no all-nighters. They are just plain torture. Your body just releases more of the stress hormone, cortisol, which also plays a role in increased fat storage. No bueno. 

Not convinced that you need sleep, yet?

If you accidentally fall asleep, and sleep through your alarm because you are just so exhausted that you end up missing your final, you automatically lose.


As much as it is important to make good grades on your exams, you also need to take care of yourself. Push yourself to commit to your study plans, but make sure you are mentally and physically well. If the stress becomes too much, exercise and get some fresh air. At the end of the day, grades are important, but your physical and mental health outweighs any number on your transcript. 

YOU CAN DO THIS! Just a little more effort before break; I believe in you!

GOOD LUCK AND MAY THE ODDS EVER BE IN YOUR FAVOR!


“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.”
Samuel Johnson

One thought on “THE FINAL COUNTDOWN

  1. Lee Ann says:

    I love how you break down the studying. I wish I would have known this while I was in school.
    I also like how you express strongly how important it is to take care of yourself.
    Your going to be awesome once you graduate. We have faith in you hon.
    Lovingly,
    Gpa & Gma Quam

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s