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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As we near the end of November, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that exams are approaching. While some are prepared for finals week, some of us are not sure what to do about it. So, whether you’re a senior entering your second-to or last exam week ever, or you’re a freshman readying up for your first ever week, this guide is for you. Be sure to take notes, or even switch up these strategies for what fits you!

  1. Gather Your Notes

Hopefully, you’ve been taking notes during your classes. Whether you’re taking twelve credit hours or your max of eighteen, notes are always a great place to start! If you feel you may have forgotten certain materials over the semester, you can always look at your textbooks, online, or even your peers.

One perk in today’s society is there’s always help for those in need. If you search for keywords in your class, you may be able to find a Quizlet for your class to help you study. You might even find your exact class! If you don’t find anything, you can always make your own and do research for topics you’re not sure about. These online flashcards will do wonders!!

A word of advice: don’t use websites like Chegg or Homework Lib. While these are great sources to help with homework, you can’t use these as a crutch. This especially proves true if your class’s exam is online due to the pandemic. Some teachers are known for using Lockdown Browser, and you’ll get into major trouble if they ask for your camera and mic to be on during the test. Don’t cheat! That’s never a good idea!

However, there is an exception to this. If you’re lucky, your teacher may allow you to use your notes, even if you’re in person. But this is rare. Do not count on being able to use your notes. Studying ahead of time is always the best option!

  1. Study with Classmates

Have you gotten to know your classmates fairly well? If you don’t already have one, ask your classmates if you can start a group chat in order to communicate with one another. You can have a small group chat on Instagram, bigger ones with GroupMe, Snapchat, and text message groups, and giant chatrooms with Discord. This is the best way to connect with your classmates if you haven’t already.

Once you’ve gotten in contact with classmates, or if you have been since the beginning, ask if they’d like to meet up for a group study session. Everyone can bring their notes and study together! Meet up at your favorite coffee shop, the school’s library, or even the AYCE dining hall (trust me, food and studying is always a great combination). Sit down and get to work! If you put your minds together, you can definitely find a way to help your classmates out. And in return, you’ll get help too. Then everyone can be prepared for the exam.

However, if your class is online due to the pandemic, or you don’t live on campus, it may be a little more difficult to get your classmates together in person. Set up a Zoom or WebEx session! Or if you have Discord, you can all join a call together. These will help you connect in a similar fashion for an online study session. While it might not be the same as in person, it can definitely help you at least get the material. And there are bonus points if someone can screen share their notes so everyone can write things down. Communication is key!

  1. Ask Questions!

As I said in the last section, communication is the best way to be informed. Sometimes, your teachers may host a review period or night for your exam! Attend it if you have time, or ask someone to help you receive the information that might be gone over during the lecture.

If you’re present, ask plenty of questions. Your teachers, professors, and doctors are there to help you. They don’t want you to fail their exam, as it can make them look bad as faculty in the university. If you don’t understand something, have them help you go over what you don’t understand. You can always find help somewhere.

If you’re unable to go, ask your classmates if you know them well enough. See if they’ll help you get the information you need. If they agree, send them a list of questions for the professor. They should get it back to you in no time! Or, if you’re with an online class, there’s a potential that the professor will record their exam review. Be sure to watch it thoroughly. Take notes, pause the video, and make sure everything is written exactly as the video says. You don’t want to miss out on valuable information that could be used on the exam!

  1. Get Enough Rest

I cannot stress this enough: exam week will be exhausting. You’re going to be tired from all of the studying, final projects, and giant exams you’ll have to take. It can be terrifying to think about if you’ve been told that this exam is worth most of the points in your semester.

You might be tempted to pull an all-nighter in order to have a cram session. Let me tell you, this is the worst idea ever. You won’t be able to focus on classes the next day. Not even caffeine will help you here. Not only that, but your sleep schedule will be messed up, and there’s a lot more that will be impacted by an all-night study session.

Plan ahead of time! Find time to study between classes if you’ll be home late due to a lecture, lab, or even work. If you’ll have time in the evening, set down some time to study. Once you’re tired from all the hard work you’ve put in, get ready to wind down for the night. Get some tea (not coffee) or water, sit down with some lofi music, and relax. You don’t want to stress out! Be sure you get plenty of sleep once you’re done for the night. That means no scrolling through social media; don’t make the mistake of scrolling through TikTok or Instagram until 3 AM. Save that for once you’re on Winter Break!! 

  1. Eat and Hydrate!

Now, something really important about exam week is that you need to take care of yourself. Not only is sleep important, but making time to take care of your personal needs is a necessity. Stock up on food before the week begins; although it may be tempting to DoorDash every day, this will distract you and your brain. For those living in the dorms, some microwave meals are your best friend if you want to stay in; or, you can pack up your materials and head over to a dining hall! As I said before, food and studying are perfect for each other. Just… don’t get distracted.

Staying hydrated is also important. And no, this week doesn’t mean drinking all of the coffee you want. Starbucks is expensive, and even if you have a coffee maker at home or in the dorm, you cannot have caffeine every second of the day. Water is important so you don’t dehydrate yourself. Carry a water bottle on you, and refill when you can! Some campuses might have water bottle stations so you can easily fill your bottle. You don’t even have to stick to just water; lemonade and tea are also great options.

And yes; you can have coffee. But don’t let it be your only drink.

At the end of the day, preparing for exam week doesn’t have to be that difficult. I promise you’ll be able to get through it. Study and take care of yourself. That is the best strategy for nailing the worst week of the semester. Of course, if you need to alter these strategies, be sure you make it work for you! You are your own primary source of success.

Talons up, Falcons!! You’ve got this! Good luck!

Carli Christenson

Bowling Green '23

My name is Carli Christenson. I'm a third year student studying Visual Communications Technology for a specialization in photography and print. I'm an absolute nerd, and I adore musical theater. I'm also part of the LGBT+ community!
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