As a college student you probably dread finals. Regardless of how that exam is going to affect your grade or how confident you are about your knowledge of the class, the stress alone of finals week may get to you. Procrastination and distractions can lead you to the realization that you have three exams in two days.
Listed below are tips and tricks that can help you plan for finals.
Know your finals schedule before finals week: While this may sound simple, don’t wait until finals week to make a study schedule. Know when and where your finals are about two weeks out if possible. Making this simple identification will decrease unnecessary stress later.
Allow for prep time: Whether you want to review your notes, rewrite your notes, make flash cards, take a practice exam, or organize a study group, know that you will need to make time to prepare before you even start studying.
Decide which exams/papers need the most focus: If you have multiple exams, decide the week before (or even two weeks before) which finals are going to take the most time to prepare for. Look at your schedule and decide how much you need to prepare then work backwards from the final date to create a study schedule.
Study over a period of time: While you may be confident in one class, do not review the night before. Instead review a week out from the exam date so that you can identify any weaknesses and ask for help. Additionally, quiz yourself or others within that week so that you continue to reinforce concepts.
Know your professor/peer’s schedule: If you know you might need help preparing for a final, it is okay to ask for help, but be aware that this is a busy time of the semester for everyone. If you want help from a professor, tutor, or even classmates ask them ahead of time what their schedule looks like and if you can reach out to them via email for quick questions.
Have a physical schedule: Creating an actual schedule, whether on your iPhone or written in a day planner, helps you see when you have time to schedule and keeps you accountable. Whether you’re meeting a group in the library, need to find time to write your paper, or need a break from studying, having a working schedule will allow you to know when you need to space out your studying or help you stay productive.
Make time to relax and destress: Dead week and finals week are hands down the two most stressful weeks in the academic calendar. Studying for exams or working on papers and projects is very important, but something equally as important is taking care of yourself. Whether it’s going to the gym, seeing a movie, or getting extra sleep, do not let your entire finals week be consumed by studying.
Study in an appropriate atmosphere: Studying in a clean, quiet, secluded space can help you focus and be more productive. While this is hard because everyone seems to have crammed themselves into the library or local coffee house, think outside of the box about other available spaces. Check out campus buildings with study rooms you can reserve. Additionally, keeping your study space clean helps you stay on task.
Use breaks as distractions: Even while you are studying, your attention span and productivity will start to decrease. So in your schedule, take a short break every hour to check your Facebook or walk around to reset your focus.
Don’t dwell on a finished final: You cannot change the past, but you can always change the future. Regardless if you killed an exam or feel like you failed it, you have to put it behind you and move on to the next one.
Focus on one final at a time: Too many student get overwhelmed trying to flip between subjects. Focus on your upcoming final exam/paper then once that is over, shift your focus to the next.
Keep these things in mind and you can avoid unnecessary stress. Stay calm and put in the work.
If you need any help preparing for final papers or presentations, make an appointment with the Business Communications Office.