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Finals week ought to be free of stress

The semester is already over. It happened so fast. Sixteen weeks blew by our face as if we played for the Bengals, and do you know what? It only gets easier from here.

Eighty to ninety percent of your grade is all but decided. You have all worked hard to make grades. Well, most of you. To you freshmen who couldn’t make it through the first semester: so long, and let’s hope your parents don’t flog you for too long. To the rest of you, Exam Week is all that stands in the way of three weeks of Braveheartesque “Freedom!” You show up to class, take a test and leave. It’s that simple.

I have no clue why everyone is ramming his or her head into the wall over such a trifle of a week. Have you any idea of what an easy week this should be? It’s nothing but tests! You really aren’t learning anything new this week. Isn’t that a relief? I know it is for me. I just have to go back and learn the stuff I was supposed to know by now. Once I write down what I know on four sheets of paper in four different classes, I go back home and try to forget what I learned in Math class.

Maybe I know why this is the week to fret. Human emotion is contagious; otherwise, there would be no such thing as mass paranoia. For example, you talk to a classmate struggling in a class. This person is one of those who have, for lack of a better term, been studying their Bacardi more than their Beowulf. The hapless student tells you he or she needs an ‘A’ on the final just to get a ‘C’ for the class. The student’s concern is filtered upwards to the ‘B’ students, then to the straight-‘A’ students, who feign anxiety just so they don’t stand out.

All I know is that one shouldn’t worry too much about Exam Week. Ask any athlete, and they’ll tell you that getting jittery before a big game can only hurt you. That’s why experience is such a factor in sports; veteran athletes possess calm nerves in the final minutes of the bottom of the ninth, or after the two-minute warning. When John Elway needed to move the football 98 yards, I guarantee he didn’t start frantically running in circles screaming, “Oh my god! I have to, like, score in a minute and a half, or else we lose!”

Maybe I’m under-reacting. Maybe I’m simply an above average test taker. Exams actually bring my grade up. If there weren’t tests, my GPA would probably be lower by a few tenths. Sure, there are test-taking skills that we all learned in that ninth-grade blow-off class about how to eliminate multiple choice answers and how to pace yourself with an essay test. But doesn’t this seem like overkill? Why do you need to take a class to take a test? Why not take a class that teaches you how to register for classes? Or a class on how to find the room in which your class meets? Tests are simply another part of classes, and they aren’t as hard as they are made out to be. The hard part is showing up at 9:30 in the morning, and you have already done that. The hard part is over! If there were a class on waking up in the morning, it would probably consist of loud noises and fireworks in order to wake up lazy bums who sleep through their alarm clocks. Sign me up for that one!

So how should you handle Exam Week? Simple. I would put an hour of studying into each exam in order to brush up on the material I may have forgotten in the beginning months. Since I have four exams, that’s four hours of studying, and four one-and-a-half hour exams. That’s ten hours total of work this week, which is less time than I normally spend going to class on any other given week. Don’t let the 23 quiet-hour rule fool you.

There is much hidden leisure time in this week to be discovered and utilized. If you need a healthy recommendation, you can never go wrong with hour after hour of playing video games. Unless, of course, you need an ‘A’ just to get a ‘C’ in a class.

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