Your Complete Survival Guide for Finals Week

No matter what subjects you’re studying, finals week is guaranteed to be the most hectic and stressful week of classes. However, you don’t have to let the stress get to you. Follow these smart study tips, overcome your procrastination tendencies, and start kicking butt on your final exams!

Make a Game Plan

Before you start studying for finals, make a list of the things you need to review, and prioritize your time so you’re able to study the most important things. Next, schedule time to study without interruptions. If you’ve been struggling with a subject, give yourself extra time to study for that class. Also, don’t spread your study time across subjects by breaking up an hour into 20 minutes of three different subjects. Spending more time with each subject will help you deepen your focus and get a better understanding of the topic.

Turn Off Your Phone

Our phones are basically tiny procrastination machines. Overcoming procrastination is way easier with your phone either turned off or set to do not disturb. And remember: your phone is not the only thing distracting you! Make sure you’re logged out of chat on your computer and stay off of social media. Find a place to study where you won’t be interrupted by others, like at the library or a quiet coffee shop. You can also minimize distractions by listening to instrumental music while you study.

Get Enough Sleep

It can be tempting to put off studying until the night before exams, but pulling an all-nighter will hurt you in the end. When you’re sleep deprived, your memory and concentration are impaired. If you’re sleepy while you’re studying, you’re way less likely to absorb information. Even worse, if you’re exhausted on test day your performance on your exams will suffer. Set yourself up for success by getting plenty of sleep during finals week.

Take Advantage of Help

Go to your professor’s office hours and ask any lingering questions you have about the material. If your professor or TA offer to host a review session prior to the final, be sure to attend, and use any practice tests or other materials that your professor provides to prepare you for the test. If you still need extra help, ask a classmate to help you study or look into tutoring. Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question! If something doesn’t make sense to you, others probably have the same question but might be afraid to speak up. There are so many different ways you can get help before exams, so take advantage of them.

Don’t Take on Extra Commitments

Remember that it’s okay to say no to other commitments so you’ll have the time you need to study. Sometimes in life things come up that you feel like you “have to” do.  Whether it’s your part-time job asking you to pick up an extra shift or friends asking you for help planning a party, you can kindly say no. Let them know that at another time you would be glad to help, but you need to focus on your studies this week. Most people will be very understanding when you let them know that at this point in your life, your education is the most important thing.

Go Back to the Beginning

Stuck on figuring out exactly what to study? Go back to your syllabus and course description for clues. The course description will outline the high-level ideas you should be taking away from the class, and the syllabus likely breaks down the material week by week. Oftentimes the introductory materials you got at the beginning of class can be used as an excellent study guide for the final.

Stay Positive

Don’t let the stressful finals week vibe get you down. Instead of dreading tests as a chance for you to fail, look at your finals as a time to show off how much you’ve learned. Additionally, if you do happen to struggle on a test, don’t let that negative feeling carry over to your other exams. You will perform much better on your finals if you’re happy and relaxed. Find little things to do to relax before a test, like taking a quick walk or checking in with a good friend.

Feed Your Brain

It’s easy to stress-eat a bunch of junk food, or get wrapped up in your studies and miss meals. Missing meals and poor nutrition can both negatively affect your focus and memory. Avoid overeating chips and cookies, and choose healthy foods instead. You will feel better and perform better on your tests too! To give your brain an extra push, try some of these brain-boosting super foods.

Celebrate Your Victories

Take pride in your achievements and celebrate your accomplishments! Savor that great feeling of walking out of an exam and knowing that you did well on your test. Even if you feel like a class was way outside your comfort zone and you barely made it through, be proud that you did. You’re in school to learn and grow, not because you’re already an expert in everything. When finals week is over, get yourself a treat and congratulate yourself on completing your classes. You did it!

How do you feel during finals week? What helps you study smarter and get the grades you want? What works for you for overcoming procrastination? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


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