How to Stay Organized For Finals

The end of the semester can be a hectic time for everyone, especially new college students who have not yet developed their strategies to handle this intense period. Being in a new environment paired with a barrage of essays, projects or tests can seem overwhelming. Luckily, we have a few tips and tricks to help diminish the stress to ensure that finals period goes as smoothly as possible.

Picking Courses and Exam Dates

The first step comes at the beginning of the semester. As you begin to choose classes make sure to look carefully at the syllabus and exam dates. If you are someone who prefers having more time to study, try to pick classes with finals towards the end of the week. If you prefer getting everything over with, gear your choices towards classes with early exam or paper dates. Despite your preferences, you cannot always perfectly structure your schedule to a certain part of the week. However, another important technique is to pick classes with non-overlapping exam and paper dates to provide enough dedicated time to each subject and to keep from cramming.

Planning Ahead

One common issue for many students is procrastination, which leads to cramming in order to meet a deadline. There are many techniques to prevent procrastination some of which include starting early, marking your calendar, and making a detailed study or work schedule. Another helpful method is color coding your calendar to maintain organization. By creating these visual representations of your exam schedule, it will become easier to logically plan study time, and creating to-do lists can often make a daunting amount of work seem less so.

Setting Reminders

Giving ​yourself constant reminders can be a helpful force for getting work done. Setting alerts on your phone, leaving post-it notes on your mirror or dresser, and even asking a friend to give these reminders can be a great tool to be sure work is not left to the last minute. Using more than one of these techniques can also keep you from forgetting deadlines and enable you to stay proactive  and ultimately work more effectively.


Another common mistake is focusing first on easy assignments and leaving harder, more time consuming work to the end. In reality, work should be organized based on urgency to ensure no deadlines are missed. One trick is to create to-do lists while simultaneously ranking difficulty and due date.

Review Sessions and Office Hours

Yes, we know you may not want to go, but but during finals you won’t regret it. Having a conversation with your professor or TA, or attending review sessions to ensure you are aware of all the material can make all the difference. Try preparing a list of your questions beforehand to make the most out of your budgeted time.

Staying Healthy

A successful exam period all starts with staying healthy. This means being well rested, staying hydrated and eating well. But, maintaining your health also means giving yourself time to relax and have fun without constantly thinking about your assignments. A balance between work and relaxation will help to reduce immense stress and maintain your sanity.