Tips on How to Get Through Finals Week Without Going Insane

It’s that time of the semester when classes are winding down, but the library is getting more crowded – you know what this means? It’s finals week! Ah, yes, the long-awaited week where no student sleeps as they drown in-class lectures and notes while studying. Everyone’s favorite, right? Wrong. Finals week is a time where we are beyond stressed and force ourselves to stay awake for an endless number of hours trying to memorize the most important information that will be on the exam. As the final week is upon us, students pull all-nighters and drink unnecessary amounts of coffee to cram until the end to raise their overall final grades. While people tend to procrastinate throughout the semester, in the last two weeks the procrastination levels are extra high. Assignments for all of your classes quickly pile up and to be honest, sometimes I just don’t want to do it right away. You shouldn’t either. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but rather, you should take some personal time for yourself and take the necessary precautions to set yourself up for success.

Taking care of yourself is key. You need to be healthy and happy in order to be in a positive mindset when entering finals week, but let’s be honest – it’s a hectic time that no one can fully, 100% prepare themselves for. However, one has the ability to help make it a little bit more manageable for themselves. During the crunch of finals week, food might be the last thing on your mind but believe it or not, there are certain foods that help the brain work at optimal levels. Avocados, tea, milk, nuts, and dark chocolate all contain the proper nutrients that help reduce stress levels and enhance attention. Instead of packing Oreos, chips, and candy, try your best to eat proper meals and/or brain foods to help make studying a bit easier and manageable for you. 

 

Another necessary aspect of taking care of yourself before, during, and after finals week is to get a good night's sleep. College students tend to pull “all-nighters” when studying for finals and, most of the time, it happens multiple times that particular week. According to USNews.com, “Researchers found that students who met an ‘8-hour sleep challenge’ during finals week did better on their exams than those who slept less. The results prove that the college ritual of ‘cramming’ is not necessary for success -- and may actually be counterproductive, the study authors said." This proves that staying up for an absurd amount of time, in an effort to study all of your important notes, it can actually hurt you more than helping you. Make it a priority to get those 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, and your body and mind will both thank you.

Now, you might be wondering how it’s possible to get through finals week without pulling an “all-nighter”. Believe it or not, it’s quite simple. Before I even think about studying, I sit down and make a schedule. I go through each individual class and figure out what I need to know and when I need to know it by, including assignment due dates and exam dates. I then portion study times within a calendar for all of my classes, so I have a visual as to what I need to accomplish each day. You can even go the extra mile and make the schedule strict by adding a certain amount of time you have to get stuff done. Sometimes allotting a specific amount of time to one thing can be useful, but not always. Some people cannot work with the timed method, so make sure you figure out what’s best for you. Aside from that, definitely create a schedule, either on a calendar or in your planner, for you to follow so you can clearly see what you need to get done. You definitely don’t want to accidentally forget to look something over at the last minute.

 

While you’re studying, it’s helpful to gather a group of friends and/or classmates to have a group study session. This allows the minds of multiple people to come together to show what you know about the given information but also allows you to bounce ideas off of each other. If you don’t understand a concept, theory, or method, someone else would be able to offer you help and aid you in having an understanding or giving you easier ways to look at things to make it simpler to remember. I personally like to study with someone else because they usually keep me on track when I get distracted while doing my work. I like to have whoever I’m with take my phone, and not let me have it until I have completed all of the work I planned to get done. However, studying with friends also gives you a confidence boost because, for the majority, they offer you words of encouragement and aid you in trying your best.

Personally, creating study guides is a lifesaver. By doing this, it taught me the skill of being able to pick out the most important information, so I didn’t waste my time studying for things that aren’t relevant. For each of my classes, I would go back and look through any lectures or documents and scan through them thoroughly to pick out the big concepts or whatever was very important, and I would put them into a study guide. For the most part, professors provide study guides as a guide for what you should study, but it’s horrible when they don’t distribute one. Study guides make everyone’s lives easier, especially during finals week. It’s even better when professors create a study guide that acts as a mini-test that reflects what the final is going to look like. If you’re one of those lucky students that have the opportunity to have professors like that, please thank them and let them know that you appreciate the help that they are providing you with. It’s not required for them to do that for you, but your success is important to them.

While the list could go on and on, breathe. Take some deep breaths and relax every once in a while. Students forget to take it easy on themselves and tend to rush from subject to subject when studying and it gets overwhelming fast. Close your eyes, relax, and remind yourself that you will be okay and that you will succeed. Give yourself positive affirmations because, without a positive mindset, you won’t work as hard or even believe in yourself. You’ll have a sense of doubt that will hinder what you are capable of doing. You’re smart, determined, hardworking and will do great with anything you put your mind to. You’ve got this.

 

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