In order to prepare for finals, professors at USC said finding what study spaces works for you, working on time management and not putting all your measures of success into your grade can help students get through the week of exams ahead.
The coming week of final exams can be demanding for students and second semester fatigue doesn’t make it any easier. As students prepare for the infamous week of testing, professors are using finals, not to create an extra challenge, but to prepare their students for the future.
Students should spread their studying out and take breaks instead of cramming, Clinical Associate Professor Kara Montgomery said.
“Trying to sit and study for like eight hours on end — I think it's just asking too much of your body and your brain," Montgomery said.
As an academic advisor, Montgomery said it is important to find your right study atmosphere.
“Some people study best by themselves, and others do better with a partner or a small group. Figure out which of those is best for you," Montgomery said.
Students should learn time management skills to figure out their best study method, according to Courtney Worsham, a lecturer in The Darla Moore School of Business.
“You have to treat this like it's a job and you have to budget time for it," Worsham said.
Worsham said having a job helped her learn how to manage her time in college. She said one of her challenges was finding the right time of the day when you have the most energy to study.
“I learned very quickly that if I would get up an hour earlier, I was awake. I was alert. Nobody was there to distract me. I could have my coffee and I was clear headed," Worsham said.
Changing one's mindset to think about finals as a way that professors help you to learn instead of wanting you to fail can be an important aspect when going into the exam. This change can help motivate you to study for finals.
Finals can be looked at as a way for professors to see the outcome of their teaching, and a way for students to check if they know the material, or if they might need to work harder at it. Each class is necessary to graduate for a reason and the knowledge you gain from that class will be needed after the final exam period.
“My job depends on how well you are doing, and if all of my students fail the class, then I obviously have not done a good job in the classroom," Worsham said.
While some professors use a pretty challenging exam, an anonymous USC Sport and Entertainment Management Professor said they believed a test is not a true measure of one's learning.
"At the end of the day, a test is not a true representation of how hard someone is working in the class," the professor said.
A lecturer at the university himself, he thinks teachers are teaching students how to take tests, but leaving out real world application.
"Every student is going to learn differently and it's up to instructors to learn how to teach the material the best way they can to the students," the professor said.
Regardless of how stressful the late night studying can be, it is reassuring that professors put their own professional value onto the success of their students. When your grade is put in the hands of the professor during finals, the assurance that they are there to advise you for success places trust in a college education itself.