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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Pitt chapter.

Brace yourself, finals are coming. That’s right, you heard me. FINALS. ARE. COMING. Final presentations, exams and papers are enough to make any student cower in the corner of the library. Managing all of it at once can be difficult and may even seem futile. As one wise college student said, “Your suggestion that I might struggle with finals implies that I’m going to put up a fight.” So, you ask, how the heck am I supposed to study for exams while writing papers and preparing presentations and see all my friends before break? Read on. After three of years of making it work, I’ve got you covered.

Start early. Of course, if you’re frantically reading this article for last-minute nuggets of wisdom, it may be a little late for that. In any case, I highly recommend pulling out that planner you were so excited to buy or printing out a calendar from online. Write down every assignment and due date you have left for the semester. Rank them according to importance and difficulty. What needs to be done first? What is going to take the longest? What is the most important task to focus on?

Find somewhere you can study. Kudos to you if you’ve managed to find something that works for you earlier in the semester, but you might have to be flexible. Finals means that students who haven’t stepped foot in the library all semester are suddenly flocking to it. There are no tables and no outlets, literally anywhere. If you can focus in your room or apartment, I recommend staying in. If not, get creative— try to find a spot in the student union or random hallway tables in the classroom buildings. If you live near a public library, that might be a good option as well.

Make a plan. Seriously, figure out when you’re going to do what, or at least come up with some sort of order to follow (maybe use that super handy list you made earlier). Outline your papers if you have a lot of them to write. Although writing outlines doesn’t work for me, for a lot of people it’s a productive way to start organizing your thoughts so that when it’s time to write them, you already know what you’re going to say. Organize your notes. Studying is so much easier when you know where you shoved all the papers you promised you would put in a folder later.

There are a million ways to study for exams depending on what kind of exam you’re taking. Rewrite key points and redraw important diagrams or tables. Pretend like every exam lets you bring a full sheet of notes. What would you put on it? Just the act of making this type of sheet forces you to go through your notes with a fine-tooth comb and recognize concepts you may have missed on the first pass. Make mnemonics. Silly sentences, acronyms, whatever it takes to help you remember things. Chances are you’ll remember the silly sentences you came up with better than lists of things you tried to memorize. Find a way to simulate important pathways. For my science friends, you know that there can be tons of pathways and mechanisms to memorize. Look for a way to physically work through them: put index cards in the right order, use candies as pretend electrons moving through biological pathways (bonus: you get to eat them after!) or grab a white board and draw it a million times. Teach a pal. Teach the material your learning to a friend, a stuffed animal or a pet. Explaining concepts aloud helps cement them in your mind.

Attend a study group. Don’t attend a study group. I’m of two minds when it comes to study groups. If you have a group of people you work with regularly and can be productive, go for it. Make sure everyone is participating and that you aren’t just listening to other people work through the material. If you plan on getting together with friends, accept that it may not be the most productive way to study and you might not get anything done. That being said, take time to see your friends. If you study well together, a trip to the library or coffee shop to study may be just what you need. Otherwise, plan a movie night or grab dinner. Taking breaks from studying is critical to doing well.

Get presentations out of the way as soon as possible. I like to volunteer to go the first day for presentations unless I already have a ton going on that day. Even though that can put a little time pressure on you, it means that you have one less thing to worry about as final exams get closer. If your final presentation is on a final paper, you’re forced to get the paper done early which gives you time to revise it and maybe even turn it in before the deadline.

Did I mention having a list of assignments and exams? I’m pretty sure I did, but I’ll reiterate. That list is a life saver. Cross things off as you do them. You’ll feel more accomplished and you’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Remember to eat, stay hydrated and sleep. So many students talk about how they survive on coffee and no sleep during finals. It’s not good for you. It’s not productive. It’s not something to be proud of. Eating well, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep will not only help you focus, it’ll help you keep your immune system up so you’re less likely to get the dreaded finals plague. Take breaks. Seriously. A 20-minute break will not destroy your chances at a good grade. FaceTime your pets. Call your parents or grandparents. Catch up with a friend. Go to the gym. Go to the grocery store. Go shopping for the holidays. Pick up an extra shift at work. Let your brain have some time to relax and catch up with all the hard work you’ve put in.

Finally, stay as calm as possible. Finals suck, but in two incredibly fast-paced weeks, it’ll all be over. You can do it.

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Thanks for reading our content! hcxo, HC at Pitt