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Keep Calm and Study On – Tips For Staying Calm During Finals Week

Ahhh finals week, students’ favorite time of year… or not. The week we turn into literal hermits pulling all-nighters in our room, overloaded with caffeine, desperately trying to remember class material that we learned nearly 3 months ago, only to be examined on it in 2 days. So fun! 

While students feel that finals week is one of the most stressful weeks of the year, remember that it doesn’t have to be. Studying for our final exams are important and should be taken seriously, but it doesn’t mean that we have to cram and cause ourselves so much unnecessary stress. 

I know how it feels to pull all-nighters and have my social life fly out the window in order to prepare for my final exams. Through my experience, I now find it much easier to pace myself and still enjoy life during this challenging time. 

Here are my favorite tips & tricks for staying calm during finals week

Create a study plan

Starting off strong, my #1 tip for staying calm during finals week is entering the week with a study strategy. Make a list of your courses and their corresponding exam dates and times so you can prioritize what classes to begin with. Planning exactly what you’re going to review and when is so helpful in keeping you responsible, keeping your study habits effective, and ensuring that you don’t stress too much. Also be sure to review any review material that your professors may provide such as study guides, chapter reviews, and online lectures!

Take plenty of breaks

Mental burnout. We’ve all been there. Pushing yourself to the absolute limit when we feel like we can’t absorb or comprehend any more information! It’s the worst, especially during finals week. Take breaks! It is just as important to give your mind a rest as it is studying for the test. It is a fact that taking time for yourself to relax aids in improving concentration and sustaining energy. In other words, you perform better when you have time to have fun and live a balanced life. Make sure that you schedule time to take breaks each day and ensure that you actually are on break. You’ll return to work feeling refreshed and ready for more!

Get enough sleep

Sleep is so important, especially during finals week. While staying awake all hours of the night may seem like a good idea to maximize your study time, it’s actually the opposite. Not getting a solid night’s sleep actually makes it more difficult for us to concentrate, multitask, and remember information. So, stick to your normal sleeping schedule and you’ll feel calmer, retain more information, and perform better on your exam.

Practice self-care

The girls that get it, get it, and the girls that don’t, don’t… but I think we all need it. Seriously, I can’t emphasize this enough! Practice self care because we deserve it now more than ever. While studying, take breaks to do the things you love and to maintain the space around you. This could include going out for a walk, playing with your dog, preparing a luxurious grilled cheese for lunch, or even throwing in a load of laundry. Continuing self-care during finals week makes this challenging time feel more like everyday life versus a complete chaos study marathon. 

Spend time outdoors

With the weather finally warming up in North Carolina, we can take advantage of the gorgeous surrounding areas during our study break. Students here in Wilmington are fortunate enough to have access to multiple beaches and parks where we can step outside, soak up the sunshine, and enjoy the good vibes before heading back to the books- get that healthy dose of vitamin D! Like a breath of fresh air, literally. 


Move. Your. Body. Exercising regularly is one of the best ways to clear your mind and de-stress. Not to mention it improves your blood pressure and produces mood-boosting endorphins, so you’re guaranteed to be left feeling great afterwards. Not in the mood to hit the gym? No need! Some of my favorite free at home workouts can be found on YouTube by workout influencers Chloe Ting, Daisy Keech, and CelaMarr. Check them out and get moving!

Spend time with your friends

We need BFF time now more than ever! Speaking from experience, getting together with my girlfriends during finals week is the ultimate treat. We are all in the same boat studying for exams and on the verge of a mental breakdown and need to let it all out! Grab lunch or hit the mall with your besties and it’ll do you right. Since we are all going through the same experience, it feels great to be able to talk about our struggles and provide emotional support for each other. Not to mention you’ll have a blast, so when you return to studying you’ll feel extra motivated. 

Practice breathing exercises

When you start feeling like you might need to pause and take a breather, do it! Deep breathing is a great tactic to reduce tension and your stress and anxiety levels. If you’re into meditation and yoga, definitely practice these exercises whenever you have time to soothe and clear your mind. If not, no worries! There are plenty of deep breathing exercises you can find online to follow along to and give yourself a sense of serenity. Also, remember to take a few deep breaths as you sit down at exam time to relax and clear your mind so that you can better focus.

Alter your diet

Seeking healthier eating habits during finals week can work wonders for your body. To all my sugar and caffeine connoisseurs out there: take a break! Consuming too many sugary foods and extra amounts of caffeine can lead to headaches, upset stomach, and increased anxiety – pretty much the last thing you want to be experiencing this week. Instead of relying on caffeine and sugar to get you through the week, swap them out for some fruits, vegetables, and foods high in protein and fiber to power you through!

Keep perspective

If you find yourself completely flustered and overwhelmed, try to adjust your perspective. At the end of the day, it’s just an exam, and finals week is just a few days out of our lives. Yes, finals are important, but they aren’t the most important thing you’ll ever do. Stay calm, stay optimistic, and do your best – to do your best is all you or anyone can ask of you.

I know how overwhelmed you may feel, but don’t fret, you will make it through! Or, maybe you weren’t feeling worried about finals until you read this article, and now you’re thinking “Finals? When are my finals? Next week?! What day is it?!”. 

Either way, I have faith that you’ve totally got this and I hope that you’re able to find a balance between work and play. To each, their own – find what study habits work best for you. 

Good luck, I’m rooting for you always!

Emily Devine is a Marketing major at UNCW graduating in May 2023. Originally from Connecticut, Emily moved to North Carolina to pursue her college education and take advantage of the gorgeous surrounding areas. Her passion for wellness and self-improvement led her to become a member of Her Campus, where she is inspired to share her experiences through creative writing and to positively impact others.
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