Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Strategies I’ve Used for Finals Week Success

Finals week is notoriously stressful for university students; however, these strategies can help you to manage your stress and finish the semester strong.

1. Create a Flexible Four-Year Plan and Register Strategically

A successful semester-end starts before classes even begin. As a freshman, I planned out my classes so that I have at most two difficult classes per semester, along with at least two or three easier courses. Creating a four-year plan has not only made registration each semester easier but also helped me to realize that I had the time for a double major. I use an Excel sheet so that I can readily switch classes around if needed and easily add up credit hours to check graduation requirements.

By registering strategically each semester, you have a greater probability of successfully reaching your goal GPA. If you don’t know which required classes in your major are more challenging, talk to upperclassmen who have been through them already. Upperclassmen or student leaders in your major’s RSO can also tell you which professors to take your classes with to make them more bearable. This strategy will help you to manage your stress during finals week when you only have to worry about one or two difficult tests.

[bf_image id="qalkyc-7r6oug-cdpihf"]

2. Make a Finals Study Schedule and Include Time for Mental Breaks

In the last few weeks of the semester, create a detailed study plan based on when you have to take your exams. Especially for students with internships or other responsibilities on top of classes, this strategy is essential for finals week success. You may realize that you have to start studying before Reading Day and making a detailed schedule in advance including the notes and homework assignments you want to go over before the final exam will help you to plan out how you will spend each day of your finals week.

Within your daily schedule, plan time or activities to give yourself a mental break, and allow yourself plenty of time for sleep. Getting burned out will only mean difficulty recalling information come exam time. Make sure you’re taking plenty of breaks so that you are ready and motivated to study each day. Personally, I like a change of scenery and give myself a break by walking to a different location on the opposite side of campus. I also designate time to get coffee or watch a movie with a friend. Especially for the extroverts out there, spending time with others during finals week is a great way to refresh yourself and feel energized for your next study session.

[bf_image id="q7k4su-a5zfl4-3bkbsk"]

3. Set Goals and Reward Yourself for a Job Well Done

Setting goals and writing them down is scientifically proven to increase success. Writing down goals helps to keep you accountable for what you dream to accomplish, and creating more granular goals surrounding events, such as finals, aids in the success of your annual or long term goals. Take note of what grade you want in a course or what you want to learn, and then write what steps you will take to make that goal a reality. 

You may be surprised by your success when you start using these strategies, especially the goal-setting strategy. When you finish your finals, reward yourself for a successful exam. This could be a coffee drink or a designated time to watch a movie after each final. However, don’t reward yourself with your coping strategy. Find something unique to celebrate finishing your courses and finishing the semester’s successful end. 


Andrea Wilcox

Illinois '22

I'm a junior at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Actuarial Science and Communication. In my free time, I like to drink tea, draw and write.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️