Final Exams

alg-plane-hudson-jpgWhen insomnia, starvation, hypertension, dehydration, hysteria, panic, depression, loss of recall, a decline in personal hygiene, self flagellation and temporary aberrations in the space-time continuum all occur simultaneously within a seven day period, it must be finals week.  To prevent the creation of an academic black hole of hopelessness, institutions of higher learning have created a wave effect of the above phenomena occurring from early May to mid- June thus allowing social media, the conveyance of all truth in the universe, to display videos of students experiencing post-finals euphoria thereby preventing those at pre-finals critical mass from experiencing emotional implosion.

Did no one see these tests coming? There are syllabi for the courses of study. Sometimes, these syllabi even have chapters and pages broken down by course weeks. It’s not like the books are suddenly delivered the night before finals week begins. Now that we’ve established the existence of course calendars, syllabi and texts, why does there still exist such an intense fear of the end of course criteria? Maybe the fear arises from a lack of confidence in one’s approach to learning; even one’s practice of study.

Only perfect practice makes your practice perfect.   Put another way, the practice you practice determines your practice.  Of course, the new phrase making the rounds is “best practices” – those known to consistently produce superior results, thus establishing them as a benchmark.  So if we’re not using “best practices” then are we guilty of malpractice?  Maybe if our pre-med finals have an average of less than 2.0.

Tweets about finals week – “Is walking around campus with a coffee maker while crying”.  “I think my blood consists of caffeine and sugar at this point.”  “This week I’ve run out of money, food, motivation and the desire to do anything but sleep.”  “Told myself I couldn’t pee until I did part of my project.  Gotta motivate myself somehow.”  “Hey guys, at least if we fail this test we still have our personalities.  I mean, I’d be a pretty cool taxi driver.”  #finalsweek.

If studying for tests is like flying, then taking the test is like landing the plane; your approach determines your landing.  The comedian George Carlin has a skit in which he talks about flying on a commercial flight.  He questions why the pilot would announce “Folks, we’re on our final approach.”  Carlin asks “What? Did we screw up the other ones?”  On January 15, 2009, Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles took an Airbus A320 in for an emergency landing on the Hudson River.  The water landing was perfect with no loss of life because the pilots had studied and practiced for that less than ideal scenario hundreds of times.  Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Oriels showed up prepared to go to work and played in 2,632 consecutive games with no concern for what that workday would throw at him.  He maintained a high level of fitness and practiced through every off season.

When you’ve prepared properly for a test, there’s really no rational reason to panic.  You are as prepared as you’ll ever be.  Once the finals are over, you’ll probably never again be tested on the same knowledge in the same way.  Besides, those weren’t the real finals anyway.  Those come much later in life.  To help you make sure you find the right answers, I’ll give you a hint – they’re in the book.  #GodsWord.  #studyearlyandoften.

© 2015 Curt Savage Media

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