Five Stages of Finals Studying

There’s absolutely no denying it. Finals sucks. From the dreaded dead week (at UCSC we don’t have dead week… we just have week 10 and then are thrown to the wolves for finals week), to reviewing all your notes, nothing seems as stressful as this. And every quarter, as much as we try, we end up procrastinating studying because it seems so overwhelming. Do not fret!

As a self-declared disciplined studying queen, I’m here to give you some of my finals week studying wisdom. I hope it helps. :)

  1. 1. When I tell you to rank your classes—  I mean it.

    By ranking, I mean in terms of importance. What class do you absolutely need to pass? If that’s all of them, what class do you need to get the best score on? Once you’ve made that decision, I like to write out everything I need to review for that final and then rank those in terms of how much I understand, so I know which ones I need to focus on more. By doing this, I have a tangible list of everything I need to know and put in my study schedule.

  2. 2. Make a study schedule.

    Nothing has saved me in the same way that a study schedule has. First, I draw out the entire week before finals and finals week. I’ll write in when my finals are in different colors, and work backwards from there. On the side of the schedule, I’ll write every single thing I have to do before my finals like a word bank, whether it’s reading an article or making a bibliography, and insert it into my schedule. Now I have a complete list of items I have to do and can refer back to it when I’m studying. By doing this, I ensure I won’t forget any assignments or miniscule requirements in essay prompts, which can happen easily if I don’t include it in this schedule.

  3. 3. Work in three hour blocks & DO NOT touch that phone.

    I swear by this study method. I study in three-hour time blocks: fifty-five minutes of work, five minutes of break repeated three times. In this three-hour block, I will only focus on one subject. If you happen to finish before the end of the three-hour block, dope!You get an extra long break. Sectioning my time in this way forces me to really focus on a singular subject and a singular task. It lessens the risk to get overwhelmed by everything I have to do because I will have time for everything else if I practice this schedule.

    Also, our editor, Sam Olivares-Ramirez, likes to use the app “Forest” to study. You can plant a tree in your app and as long as you don’t exit the app/touch your phone, you will eventually grow a tree. If you exit the app for anything, however, whatever progress you’ve made thus far will go away! It’s a really cute way to keep yourself off your phone and we highly recommend it.

  4. 4. Incentivize your studying with a reward!

    This doesn’t mean go buy yourself a McChicken—though if you really want to, I’m not stopping you. It doesn’t have to be monetary: it can be allowing yourself to sleep for an entire day after the end of your finals or getting sushi, but it should be special and something you don’t do often. If it’s something you get fairly often, it almost feels normal, and finals are anything but normal! 

    Treat yo self.

  5. 5. Hold yourself accountable with someone

    Study partners are one of my favorite things while studying. As our writer Amy Radinsky does, she sets up a Zoom meeting and opens it up for her friends to drop by and study with her. As a result, she’s more productive and keen to continue studying. Having a study partner means that someone is holding you accountable for the work you are doing, and vice versa. It’s a great bonding experience and makes studying feel less stressful.

Her Campus at UCSC hopes you have a wonderful finals season, and that you return to this article if you ever need any study tips.

Have a great spring break!