Let’s start this blog post off with a riddle:
What is quickly approaching and tends to send a shiver down a college student’s back?
Close… but the answer is finals week!
But in all seriousness, finals week is known as a time of high stress. As all of us college students brace ourselves for a week of exams, final papers, and presentations, here are my six tips to help you survive this trying time (and yes, the first letter of each tip spells “finals”, because we need a little joy this finals season!).
Find a motivation system: Your motivation system can be anything: friends, family, or internal goals. It’s important to have a way of keeping whatever motivates you on your mind during finals week. This can be as simple as scheduling study sessions with your friends. Or if you want to have clearly outlined goals, take time to write them out and post them in an easy-to-see place in your room. By doing this you can keep your motivation up while tackling your finals.
Include study breaks into your week: Since we aren’t robots (beep be bop) we all need breaks between finals study sessions. One way of doing this is to break up your studying into chunks throughout your day and take mini breaks between subjects. Also, making plans to meet friends for meals or taking time to call a friend or family between study sessions can be a great way to let yourself recharge so the time you spend studying is more effective.
No all-nighters: When given the choice between studying all night and sleeping, please choose sleep (seriously sleep is amazing!). Getting rest is key during exam week (I mean it should be an everyday thing… but it’s especially important during times of high stress!) Taking time to focus on the material during class and studying for the final exam prior to the night before can help you feel more confident about facing your exam and go in with a clear, and energized mind.
Arrive early to your exams: Arriving early can be a great way to get yourself ready and in a successful mindset before your exam. By getting to class 15 minutes early, you can begin thinking about the subject you are about to be tested on and make sure you are going in focused on the material. Additionally, by planning to get to class early, you can ensure that if anything unplanned happens (say you forgot to study a formula or see a friend who you want to stop to say hi to on your walk to class) you can do so without jeopardizing your final exam.
Leave time to meet with your professors: Your professor’s office hours can be a great way to get one-on-one help on any confusing material before your final exam. Most teachers will post their office hours on the course syllabus. Coming in with questions about the material or just sitting down to discuss the general content covered in the class can be a great way to develop a deeper understanding and feel more prepared for your finals.
Start planning how you will prepare ahead of time: While procrastination sounds tempting (watch Netflix or write a final essay… Decisions decisions? Lol) it can add a lot of avoidable stress to finals week. Starting your studying or beginning to write your final essays the week before finals week can be a great way to make your workload more manageable. Start by creating a study plan early. This way you can complete a little bit of work each day and be prepared in advance for your final deadlines.