How to Ace Your Finals

By Tamar Bot and Lara Neervoort

— Finals are the most stressful period of the year for most AUC students. The Herring asked some of them how they cope with the end-of-the-semester pressure, and what their best tips and tricks are for acing their finals.

Thomas Duurland is a second-year science major and still has four deadlines left this week. Although he is quite stressed for his atmospheric sciences exam on Thursday, he was glad that he doesn’t have any essay deadlines, because these caused him a lot of sweat and tears in the previous semester. “These finals are quite okay, the end of the previous semester was definitely a lot harder, but because that was so difficult, I definitely learned from it,” said Duurland.

One of his main tips for studying for finals is taking enough breaks. “I try to go for lunch or do something fun with my friends in between studying, because sitting in front of my laptop the entire day just doesn’t work for me, ”Duurland said. Changing your environment can help regain your focus, according to Duurland. Another tip that Duurland gave is making to-do lists to help you envision your workload a lot clearer. Furthermore, Duurland claimed that he is definitely better at handling stress than in his first year, so no need to worry for the first-years among us.

Sascha Vonk, a second-year social science major, still has two deadlines and one exam left, but said that these are the easiest finals she has had so far. It seems that most students The Herring interviewed feel like this end of the semester is less stressful than last time around. “Last semester was really intense,” Vonk said, “and I do freak out when I get stressed. Sometimes I try to just get out of the bubble or go exercise or I go to my parents’ house so they can feed me.”

Vonk added that it also helps her to study together with others, because it relieves the workload and gives the opportunity to ask questions when you’re stuck. If you are working with someone else, you can also calm each other down and remind each other to take breaks. “When I am alone, I often forget to take breaks,” Vonk said. Another thing that could work is preparing a lot of food at once, so you never get hungry during finals. “In the first year I used to make large amounts of my dad’s mac-‘n’-cheese recipe so I would have enough food for the whole week,” Vonk said.

Dragoş Ilca is a third-year humanities major and currently busy with finishing his capstone before the deadline on Wednesday, 27 May. When asked how stressful finishing his capstone is, he said, “As they say back home, this is what separates men from boys.”
 Ilca didn’t offer many clues about how he deals with his capstone stress, but Liza Kardami, a second-year humanities major, claimed that “he makes other people cook for him.” “Not necessarily” Ilca replied. “I try to leave writing to the very last moment. This is just how I’ve been doing things for quite a long time now. In the panic of the moment you just get better ideas, I guess.” On a sidenote, The Herring cannot be held responsible for the study results of those who follow Ilca’s tips.

Kardami herself said she is “more organized than average.” Her ultimate tip is planning ahead: “I have a notebook for everything, and a separate notebook where I plan in.”

Diana Ghidanac, first-year student, seems to typify the plight of first-years. “My stress level is off the roof,” she said. Ghidanac, who receives a scholarship, has had a hard semester during which she was close to failing some of her courses. “I have to do whatever it takes,” she said. One of her tips was to talk to your tutor and teachers: “There is help here, and being alone is really overwhelming.”

According to Ghidanac, talking about her stress has helped her cope with it over the semester. With just one more week to go, her strategy is to prioritize. “Countless hours of studying don’t work. You need to see what really needs to get done,” she said.

The tips seem to be clear: plan ahead, study together and know this too shall pass. The Herring wishes all AUC students good luck on the last week of the semester, and remember: there is more to life than school, so don’t let it get you down!

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