How to Thrive During Finals Week: A Survival Guide
By Donna Van Derveer
It’s crunch time once again for college students. It’s the last stretch, the final countdown. And for some, it’s “the end all be all.” Finals week is almost here. Are you ready? Try following these tips on overcoming stress and anxiety so that you can rock your final exams.
Procrastination is Not Your Friend
You hear the warning every semester, “Don’t wait until the last-minute to start studying.” And during each all-nighter you think, “Why did I wait until the last-minute?!”
Studying for finals can be daunting for most students, especially if their final exams are cumulative. Postponing study sessions may seem like the best option, but cramming for exams will just create extra stress and anxiety that you do not need during finals. The best way to break the procrastination curse is just to start. Break up your notes into sections and study at least one section each day. Try to study for each class a little bit every day. Repetition and practice are crucial for being able to recall facts and other information for your exam. Plus, by studying before finals week you will still be able to ask your professor questions in class or during office hours.
Safety in Numbers
If you are someone who can always find an excuse to delay studying, then finding a study partner is a great strategy for you. If you make plans to meet up with someone at the library, you are more likely to uphold that commitment than if you were to attempt to study alone. Your study partner doesn’t even need to be studying for the same exam. As long as it gets you to the library or wherever you study, then do it.
Forming a study group is also an optimal strategy for studying for a final. By doing this, you can work through problems with your other class mates and ask them questions. Your classmates can also show you some new study strategies that you had not previously considered using.
Find a study space that is quiet and free from distractions. You don’t have to live at the library during finals week but it certainly helps. Being at the library leaves you no choice but to study. If you don’t like the tense atmosphere of finals week at the library, find somewhere else you feel comfortable. Make sure that it’s somewhere where you will actually get something done.
Can’t stand all the quietness at your study spot? Find some music to listen to that will help motivate you and keep you awake. Just remember the headphones and anything else you may need to study. Don’t waste any time looking for materials and equipment.
Stock up on Brain Food
During stressful times, it’s tempting to reach for a bowl full of your favorite comfort food but don’t do it! Some studies have shown that increasing healthy food intake actually increases your brain power. So cut back on the caffeine and switch to water. Go for the apple instead of the chocolate bar. Fuel your body and fuel your Mind.
Make a Game Plan
With everything crammed into these last few weeks, it is important to follow a schedule. Get organized. Use your planner. Make a calendar just for finals week. Set reminders on your phone. Try some new time management strategies. Just be sure to stick to your schedule! Your life will be so much easier when you know exactly what you need to accomplish for each day.
When you are carving out time in your busy schedule for studying, make sure that you find some time to relax. It is important to take breaks to that you don’t become too overloaded with material. Any activity that gives you energy and puts you in a good mood is one that you will want to make time for during this week. Enjoy coffee with a friend. Spend some time with your pets. Play a game. Go to the gym or exercise class. Call your family or best friend (emotional support is crucial during finals week).
If you still feel tense as you prepare to study, take four to five slow deep breaths. Do some stretches or yoga. Go for a walk. Get at least six hours of sleep. Most importantly, think positive. Summer break will be here before you know it!
Before You Cross the Finish Line
Before you mentally check out after finals, there are a few loose ends that you may want to check up on. Some things you may want to ask yourself are:
- Am I actually registered for the class?
- Have I completed the online learning agreement and evaluation for my internship?
- Have I settled my outstanding balances with the school?
- Did all of my “do over” class grades get recorded correctly on my transcript?
- Do I have everything I need to check out of my dorm? Do I have to renew my lease on my apartment?
What do you do at the end of each semester to prepare for finals?
Image courtesy of survivingcollege.com