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Finals 101: How to Survive Crunch Time

Finals week is often the most stressful time of the semester for college students. Everyone’s schedules go completely out of whack as we try to cram as many hours of studying, homework, work, and class as we can into one day while still getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and hanging out with friends before the start of summer vacation. What it comes down to is that there are barely enough hours in the day to do everything we need to do on top of everything we want to do! So, with only a week and a half left of school, here are some tips on capitalizing on the 24 hours in a day and staying motivated for finals week before the first blissful days of summer vacation. 

1. Study outside: With the weather starting to get nice again, what better way to study than go outside? If you don’t need internet to do your work, it’s a good way to get yourself away from internet distractions (ahem Facebook) while getting some fresh air. The Oval is obviously a good place to chill, but if you’re looking for somewhere a little quieter, check out any of the fields and parks along the river not too far from campus. You’ll be outside, away from internet and distractions, and getting some sun while doing your work! That, my friends, is efficiency. 
2. Study and exercise: We all know the trick of balancing textbooks on the elliptical or the handles of the stationary bike while at the gym, but next time you hike the M or go on a run, if you need to memorize vocabulary words, apply it to a rhythm. If you can remember sequences of words in a rhythm, as you sit staring at the exam, you can bring that rhythm back up and remember what you need to know. Plus, studies have shown that if you can maintain a regular sleep and exercise schedule during finals week, your results will be better than if you spend all your time cramming and studying. 
3. Start studying ahead of time: Finals week is always a bit ambiguous—all your work has to be done the week before finals week so that finals week is just a breeze of turning assignments in, or Dead Week is just too easy and finals week is all cramming. Whatever it is for you this semester, it’s never too early to start studying for that big exam or start writing that essay. That means just twenty minutes of writing or studying every night…and more sleep so you feel better the next day! 
4. Stress Less Week: This week, Dead Week, is also Stress Less Week on campus. If you haven’t already checked it out, there is dog petting, free snacks and drinks, massages, and other things going on in the UC. Thanks to the wonderful people at Curry, all of these seemingly basic things are proven to be stress relievers. And it’s true—what college student doesn’t love free stuff? 
5. Study with your friends: This one may seem pretty obvious, but can be overlooked. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends in class (you know, the ones you talk to in class but don’t really hang with outside of class) if they want to study, and if any of your good friends happen to be in a class similar to yours (say, Spanish or chemistry), try studying together. Although your finals will be different, they might know tricks that will make that difficult verb conjugation click for you, and it’s a good way to spend time with them before summer vacation.  
6. Don’t forget to give yourself a break. When it’s midnight and you’re downing coffee like it’s going to get you an A on that exam, sometimes the best solution is just to go to sleep. According to studies, the best amount of sleep to get is seven hours, and the time of the night that is the most restorative for our bodies and our minds is between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. Plus, if you wake up a little earlier to study, you’ll have studied the information the day of the test and it will be fresher in your mind. 
Good luck from Her Campus on your finals, and don’t forget to enjoy what little is left of this semester! 
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