Advice to the Underclassmen: Don’t Overdo it on Finals

Andrew Quigley, Staff Writer

Ah, it’s that time of year again. Snow is on the ground. Houses come to life with festive decorations on both the inside and outside. What’s not to like? Oh yeah, the one barrier standing between all students and their Christmas Break: first semester final exams.

Next week’s exam session will be Beaux Myers’ fifth. The weight that each final carries worries the NDA junior: “My entire grade depends on the exam. That stresses me out.”

Myers starts preparing for an exam once the new material stops in a class. Once he begins his studying, Myers uses a mixture of flashcards and his notes to prepare for the test.

“It works best for me. That’s what matters,” Myers said.

On the optimistic side, Myers sees a plus to finals week: “You get to dress down on exam days. It’s really comfortable.”

Myers sees the importance in studying for finals, but he advises freshmen taking exams for the first time not to overdo it.

“Don’t overstudy. It’ll hurt you more that it will help you,” Myers said.

Like Myers, the upcoming finals will be NDA junior Steven Strutt’s fifth experience. Studying for finals is the worst part in his eyes: “For me, it’s hard to focus. I’ve already learned the material so I don’t like going over it again.”

Strutt loves two things about exam week: getting off school early and the ten minute passing periods.

“Both of those things are really nice,” he said.

Strutt advises staying ahead of the game during the semester to reduce stress when exams roll around: “Get the class work done during the semester. You won’t have to study as hard.”

Students dread exam week. That is understood, but what is finals week like for the teachers of NDA?

Mrs. Jordan VanDeHey, math teacher at Notre Dame, understands students’ feelings toward exams. Looking back on her experiences, VanDeHey hated the two hour duration of her exams.

“That’s a long time to sit. I took three in one day. That’s six hours,” she said.

Regardless of her empathy for students, VanDeHey sees the importance in finals: “They are a good gauge of what’s truly been learned. They provide good feedback for teachers.”

Even if she wasn’t forced to administer a cumulative exam, VanDeHey would still give one, just not necessarily at the end of the semester: “Exams get students used to taking cumulative tests.”

When she studied for her exams, VanDeHey used flashcards. She also supplemented her notes to reinforce comprehension.

Once exam week rolls around, VanDeHey loves the questions she receives from her students: “I wish I got the same questions during the rest of the year.”

VanDeHey encourages students to go to their teachers with questions. She also recommends making a list of everything covered during the semester.

“Make a cumulative study guide throughout the semester. It will really help you,” said VanDeHey.

If you are nervous about the fast approaching exams, use the advice from your peers and teachers. Remember, exams are just another test. They just happen to come last. Study, then apply your knowledge on the test. Good luck!