Bateman: How to ace your finals

By Oliver Bateman

Unless you’re some nerdy overachiever, your final exams are bound to come as an unpleasant… Unless you’re some nerdy overachiever, your final exams are bound to come as an unpleasant surprise. During a semester spent macking, balling, getting swole and slaughtering innocent civilians during marathon rounds of Call of Duty 3, how could you have possibly found time to study? Fear not, true believers: We’ve never failed to give you the best advice money can buy, and we’re not about to start by letting you fail those finals.

First, you need to make a list of all the classes you’re taking. We think this can be done on the Internet, but we’re not sure. At any rate, the best way to study is by knowing what to study. If you’ve taken so many personal days that you can’t remember whether you’re enrolled in U.S. History to the Civil War or U.S. History After the Civil War, you should probably figure that out. Also, make sure you own some of the textbooks for these classes. There’s valuable information in there, and you’re just one or two all-nighters away from discovering what that might be.

All-nighters are the best way to learn anything. After getting warmed up with a few straight days of heavy procrastination — watching an entire season of “Jersey Shore” with an eye toward memorizing the key lines is a good way to go — you need to plan on getting caffeinated and getting busy. Twenty-four hours before the exam is the best time to drag your cranked self to the library and begin mastering those uninteresting subjects.

Before you embark on your all-nighter, you should outfit yourself in your loosest sweats. Regardless of whether you’re a girl who prides herself on her skill at applying pancake makeup or a boy who knows how to rock a killer clubspike, you need to abandon any pretensions about personal grooming. This is do-or-die time, and unless you look like a bedraggled wreck, nobody will take you seriously.

Once you’re in the library, you’ve got to hit those books every bit as hard as Oakland Raiders defensive end Richard Seymour hit beloved gridiron hero “Big” Ben Roethlisberger. But wait — did your good friend Emily Twiggs just post a new picture of herself on Facebook? Is she holding a Four Loko and giving the middle finger? Oh crap, you totally have to comment on that: “luv u em ur gr8.” And hey, what happened on Glee last night? Did that one really attractive girl sing the pop hit that never fails to tug at your fragile heartstrings? Then — checking e-mails! You definitely need to send an emergency e-mail to the instructor so that he or she knows you’re on top of things.

Okay, now you’ve got to focus. Remember, these exams are your future. You need to pass them if you want to attend law school, med school, business school or whatever other kind of school you think is your middle-class birthright. But whoa — that person over there is so hot! You can’t stop staring at him or her. God, what a distraction. This is getting out of hand. Now back to the studying either pre-Civil War history or post-Civil war history. Which one was it, again?

Wait a minute. You took AP U.S. History in high school, didn’t you? You have this stuff down cold. Emancipation Proclamation, Thomas Jefferson, Honest Abe, barbed wire, Martin Luther King, Jr. — you could write an essay on any of those topics. You could even write an essay that combined all of them. Do you think that’s what the instructor wants? Time to shoot him another e-mail.

Before you return to T.J. and Abe and Martin, you have to check that fantasy football lineup. Peyton Hillis starting against the Ravens defense — really?  A slow, easy-to-tackle converted fullback against the best front line in the NFL? Really? Really? Speaking of that, let’s watch a few of those hilarious SNL “Really?” sketches. Man, Seth Meyers sure is a cutie pie.

Ugh, where did the time go? It’s two hours before the exam and you’re as groggy as “Big” Ben Roethlisberger was after he received that punishing strike from Richard Seymour. Hey, are they still selling Four Lokos? Could a Four Loko save the day? You begin running to the 7-Eleven, then remember that the FDA banned that hot college beverage a few weeks ago.

Well, so be it. It’s now or never. You hurry to the classroom and prepare to write the history essay of your life. You think back to those movies where plucky heroes like you relied on their wits to overcome crusty deans and vindictive professors. You start writing in your exam booklet. Sure enough, it’s the thesis sentence of a lifetime: “The presidency of Thomas Jefferson lasted for more than two centuries, then it ended.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. couldn’t have put it better, friends. After you start racking up those A-pluses, you can send us a self-addressed, stamped thank-you letter. You know where to find us.

Oliver Bateman is a tutor at the Moustache Study Club of America. You can read more of the Club’s test-taking tips and tricks at