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It’s the end of April, and you know that that means — finals are coming, and I don’t think any of us are ready for it. Like, really, I genuinely don’t know how I managed to take seven finals in high school that covered material for the whole entire year when now I can barely survive four exams that only cover a semester each. Despite the stress and exhaustion, we always manage to get through it. 

Here are some of my personal tips on getting through finals week:

Make a Schedule

The first thing I always do when finals are coming up is write down the date and time of each of my finals. Then, I make a plan throughout the week of what I am studying each day. It helps me allocate enough time of studying for each final. I normally spend half of my day studying for one class and the other half studying for another class. Then the next day, I do the same with my other two classes!

Make a Study Guide
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I think the best tool for succeeding in your finals is to make study guides using your old exams (if you have them on hand). I keep all my exams for this very reason! I put all the questions in a document and practice them over and over — this is especially helpful for my chemistry classes. If you’re lucky, your professor might even use the same questions from your old exams. 

Find a Study Spot

Finding a place that makes me feel relaxed and focused has always helped me be the most productive. Coffee shops are always my go-to — sipping on coffee and working on my study guides has always motivated me. Make sure you keep that phone on “do not disturb” and only check it every once in a while.

Use the Pomodoro Method

If you have trouble staying focused, I recently discovered this method on TikTok and started using it halfway through this semester — it’s been life-changing. This method requires you to pick a task and work on it for 25 minutes straight: no breaks, no distractions. After your time is up, take a five-minute break to recharge. After four cycles of this, take a longer 15-minute break. The Pomodoro Method has seriously kept me focused and prevented my brain from getting tired. I can do work all day using this without any of the tiredness that comes with studying. Here’s the link that I use to time my work period, short breaks and long breaks: http://www.tomatotimers.com/

Sleep

It’s super important that you get enough sleep for your finals. I know it may feel like you need to stay up until two in the morning to retain all of this information, but if you are taking your test with little to no sleep, it really won’t provide any benefit for you. Make sure to get eight hours of sleep so that you can wake up recharged and ready to tackle another day!

Exercise

We all get stressed during finals week. Taking a break during your studying to go for a short workout will help you stay awake, feel great and take your mind off the stress that finals are giving you. Even a short 20-minute walk could make a huge difference. I’ve found that I actually retain more information if I work out after studying.

Woman sitting on bed with laptop and books
Photo by Windows from Unsplash
I know that we’re all dreading these upcoming exams, but we’re so close to being done with this semester and finally getting the summer break we all deserve. It’s completely normal to feel unmotivated and lost during COVID and online school — just know that you’ve done amazing and will continue to do amazing on your finals. Good luck, sleep well and study hard!

Farrah Muwalla is a junior at the University of Central Florida, and is majoring in Biomedical Sciences. She is from Viera, Florida and plans to go to dental school. When she isn't studying, Farrah spends her free time working out, watching TikToks, or listening to Harry Styles.
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