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Finals are the worst

Crumple up some more paper. It'll make you think better./ Haley Klassen
Crumple up some more paper. It’ll make you think better./ Haley Klassen

My kingdom for a horse… and a good mark.

Author: Rebecca Marroquin

The most dreadful time of year for students emerges quicker than imaginable. Besides an empty bank account, anxiety, lack of nutrition, and daily caffeinated beverages, final examinations are another thing included in the student package.

Though studying should be our number one priority as students, a social life is a much-needed remedy during these stressful times. That being said, let’s clarify that it is important to be able to cope with stress in healthy ways. A Thirsty Thursday sounds like a typical university get-a-way for a U of R student, but there are other alternatives to consider.

Second year pre-pharmacy student Tony Tran advises that “The gym is a good get-a-way for an hour or so a day” and Arden Riddle, a second year student in Education, says “I hang out with friends, or watch a movie in between…take one step at a time, definitely take breaks.”

“And sleep,” she adds, with an emphasis on sleep.

Perhaps one of the major things a student is guilty for is procrastination that leads to last minute cramming sessions. Sometimes staying up five hours past midnight is a solution, but it is important to recognize the importance of sleep and not take it for granted.

Speaking on behalf of all students, exams are our nightmares turned into reality. But if there is any logical sense as to the purpose of an exam, there is no one better to explain than Professor of History George Hoffman.

“I think an exam is a way, really, of finding out whether or not students have mastered some of the content they’ve been exposed to. Exams aren’t perfect and I don’t put too much emphasis on exams. It’s not the answer to everything and there are some students that tend not to do well on exams and still are very good students.” Hoffman explains.

Hoffman also claims to notice a drop in attendance in his classes near finals. “I don’t want to try to explain that, because I have some difficulty in understanding it. I think in some ways that is one of the most important time for students to be in class” he argues.

Undoubtedly, Mr. Hoffman has a point. Final exams, cumulative or not, mainly focus on the material covered in class after the last course midterm.

Though the last couple of weeks before finals are crucial in terms of attendance, perhaps one can argue in retrospect.

Khoa Le, a second year Software Engineering student, explains why it seems reasonable to occasionally miss class by stating, “Some classes you can put on the back burner.”

“I’m not condoning leaving classes,” he clarifies. “I have such classes where I feel the material itself in the lecture is not prominent enough for me to attend because I can just learn it through the textbook.”

Perhaps that is one explanation. After all, students can also access lecture notes on the UR Courses website if the notes are provided by the prof. However, if a student wants to do relatively well on the course, he/she should consider thoroughly analyzing the online course material and visiting the professor during office hours for a more clear understanding of the topics.

Student Development Coordinator Raeanne Skihar understands the stress that students face during finals. She advises students to “create a study guide identifying the key concepts that were covered in each class. Use that guide to estimate the time needed to study and it will help you assess what you already learned and what you need to study.”

“Stay focused while studying,” she adds.

Different students have different study habits, and though some are more effective than others, ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your studies a logical solution would be a change in study habits. Whether it’s seeking help at through the U of R, studying more, or trying something new, like studying with others, there’s plenty of ways to try and bump up that finals mark.

Hang in there fellow U of R students – a week of recovery from these long nights of sleep deprivation and anxiety is near. Happy studying!

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