Tell The Truth Tuesday: How To Survive Finals

I’m writing this as an epilogue to my coffee-filled and sleep-deprived week spent doing my straight-from-hell take-home accounting finals, so please note that this is a bleary-eyed, end-of-the-tunnel take on the end of the school year.

But…here’s Tuesday’s dose of honesty in list form:


1. Do what you can beforehand.

I had two massive comprehensive problems that were counted as part of my tax final. We were informed of their requirement two weeks before they were due, and while we had material yet to learn in order to complete them in their entirety, I had the opportunity to do most of them well before they were due. And I didn’t. Worst. Idea. Ever. Or so I realized after midnight on Sunday night as I counted down the hours until they were due and realized that sleep and my 8 hour workday had to fit in there sometime, also.

2.  Sleep.

Don’t believe anybody who says that sleep is overrated. You read better, think better, speak better, function better…caffeine is great; sleep is better. Mother’s Day afternoon I found myself redoing the problems I had been doing at 2 A.M.   It would have been far better to get the sleep needed and only do the problems once rather than spend twice the time and get half the sleep.

3. You’ll do only as well as the time you put into it.

A.K.A. You can’t expect an A+ grade on a B- effort.  I hated my government accounting class, but it was the one I’ve done the best in. Why? Because I struggled so much to learn it. For me, lack of comprehension = more studying = more effort = better grades.

4. Don’t assume.

This applies to nearly everything. But it came up on a final I have to turn in this afternoon; one that I need to discuss with my professor. There’s an entire series of problems that I believe should be answered N/A, because the information given is inadequate. I met with a few of my classmates for study group yesterday, and we discussed the problem. Most of them were turning the final in anyway, having plugged in some numbers using an assumption about the data given. I may be wrong on my assumptions, but I can’t be afraid to ask questions. I’m not just going to school to get a diploma that says I learned something–I’m going in order to actually learn it.

5. School finals are not directly related to the apocalypse.

Or failing at life, or anything remotely similar. You may rock this last week, or completely bomb it. But stressing yourself into old age in exchange for book-knowledge is a highly unfair tradeoff. Like everything else in life: you win some, you lose some, and you count your blessings at the end of the day.

So yeah, I survived. I intend to sleep for a week and start reorganizing my life around something other than an accounting textbook. I’ve got new summer commitments and a lilac bush blooming outside my window. My life is good.

Oh, and I’m signed up for classes next year, too.


2 comments on “Tell The Truth Tuesday: How To Survive Finals

  1. Colin says:

    Congratulations for surviving, Rae! And these tips are ones I should have had during my time at University. It’s a shame some of us have to learn the hard way, but I think I learned that way so I can nag–I mean encourage–my own children to develop good study habits. 🙂

  2. Rae says:

    My parents call it “encouragement”, too, although we occasionally have a different perspective on the appropriateness of that descriptor. 😉
    Thanks for comment and encouragement, though. I’m hoping I remember these next year. That’s one of the nice things about writing this all down–I can preach this to myself again next semester!

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