Finals week is possibly one of the most stressful weeks in college. Everyone is on edge, the library is packed, no one is sleeping and there doesn’t seem to be enough caffeine on campus to keep everyone going. HC is here to give you a few tips on how to not only stay sane during finals week, but how to come out on top!
- Check it off and make a schedule!
The week prior to finals, create a checklist. Make a list of the tests you need to study for and divide your study time up evenly on your weekly schedule, dividing your studying into different chunks. Schedule a block of time for going over class notes, and another block of time for rereading important chapters in the textbook, for example. Writing things down can help you to organize your thoughts and your time.
If you know that one exam will be harder or will require more study time than another one will, then allot more time for the harder exams. Once you’ve logged enough time doing each type of studying, check it off of your list. You’ll feel accomplished and you’ll get more done in a quicker and more efficient way, and it will feel less overwhelming once it’s broken down into manageable pieces.
Gather up all of the notes and books you need for each class or exam, and keep them together in their respective piles. That way, when you’re home for an hour in between your class and work, you can easily pick up your Statistics pile, and you can get a full hour of studying in before you head off to work!
- Remember to sleep.
No matter what anyone says, pulling an all-nighter is never a good idea. It’s essential to get enough sleep during finals week. The less you sleep, the more stressed out you will become. Skipping out on sleep can also negatively affect your immune system, and you don’t want to get sick during finals week. Even if pulling an all-nighter allows you to get some more studying in for one exam, it might also mean you get too sick to be able to study for your exam later that week. Dr. Mark Georgiadis says, “Adequate sleep is essential, especially on the night before tests.” He also says that sleep should be accomplished without the use of sleep aids, and that you should avoid caffeine during the day. Don’t rely on caffeine to keep you awake at night either. If you drink coffee regularly, then continue to do so. But don’t overdo it. Caffeine can keep you awake when you don’t want to be, which will result in a lack of sleep and potentially a lot of unnecessary jitters and stress.
- Eat right.
Try to eat healthy food during finals week. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids are especially helpful in fighting stress and depression. You can eat fish or take supplements in order to get your omega-3’s. You should also try to consume foods that contain B-6 vitamins, such as sweet potatoes, rice and fish. These foods are great in helping you stay alert and focused.
- Take breaks!
When you hit a rut, take a break. Don’t sit down and force yourself to read for five hours. Periodically take small breaks from studying to see if you can retain the information. You can take a walk, exercise, clean your room, chat up a friend, anything. Try not to study for more than an hour at a time. This is the ideal amount of time one should spend studying before taking a break, according to studygs.net.
- Hit the gym, not the bottle!
Don’t go out during finals week- even if you have a break from exams. One rough night out can set you back, and you want to be alert and prepared for all of your exams. Georgaidis says, “Avoidance of alcohol during finals week and some time set aside for exercise would both be useful. In fact, some aerobic exercise during finals week might be the best way to keep stress away.” So save the partying for after your exams, and hit the gym instead. That way, when exams are over, you’ll have a real reason to celebrate. And you’ll also be in better shape!
More Advice, Straight from the Horse’s (er, Student’s) Mouth:
- Junior Elon student Pam Richter has a musical suggestion: “I will listen to the same song over and over and over again to help me relax,” she said.
- Freshman Elon student Avery Lucas said exercise helps her relieve stress: “I run, which is pretty helpful for me.”
- Freshman Emily Grant attends the University of Pittsburgh. She said she likes to unwind at the end of the night after a long day of studying. “I read a book (not for school) before I fall asleep to get my mind off of the stuff I was studying all day,” she said.
- Chloe Hoeg, a freshman at Ohio University, thinks that doing something crazy and out-of-the-ordinary is just the ticket: “Last quarter before finals my friend and I put on all of our rain gear and jumped in every puddle on campus. It was right after a massive rain storm.”
Dr. Mark Georgiadis
Pam Richter, student at Elon University
Avery Lucas, student at Elon Univeristy
Emily Grant, student at University of Pittsburgh
Chloe Hoeg, student at Ohio University