As a senior in college, I would like to think that I have sort of figured out how to survive finals. Since finals start on Monday and this weekend is exclusively dedicated to studying, read on below for my favorite tips and tricks for having a successful finals week!
When you get your schedule for finals, start going through the classes you will be tested in and rank them according to importance of achieving a high score and the amount of time that will be needed to study. If you’re like me, you will have that one class that you don’t need to study *too* much for, and then one or two classes that might require an all-nighter in order to memorize all of the information. You want to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out studying for a class that does not require hours of effort, and that you put that energy into your most intimidating final instead!
Luckily for me this semester, none of my classes are term-heavy or focused on equations (thanks Sociology!), but that does not mean that I have forgotten how many times flash cards have saved me during finals season! Writing out terms or equations and shuffling them to test yourself or your friends is one of my favorite ways to study, and even with so many options online I always prefer writing things down by hand to best remember it!
If your finals are in-class essays, my biggest tip is to take the time to create a rough outline of what you want to talk about in your essay instead of going in blind. Since most professors will give you an idea about what they will test you on in advance, while you’re studying make an effort to think critically about what topics you are most confident writing about and structure your paper around those. As someone who is constantly writing in-class essays during finals week, taking the time to outline your points, despite tedious, makes the writing process go so much faster and prevents the dreaded brain fart mid-exam.
Host a study party! Friends are wonderful for keeping you on track and off Facebook, and for being able to provide emotional support during the most stressful time of the semester. I know that I would not survive finals without having my friends around to ask questions, rant to, and clarify topics I was absent for, and I can promise you that studying in a group is always more fun than studying alone. Set up a day before your final, grab some snacks, and work together until there is no way that you won’t ace that test!
Sleep + Water
You know your bed? That place in your room that you have completely abandoned? Stop doing that! Make sure you are getting at least seven hours (preferably eight or nine) of sleep during this time, especially with all the brain power you are exerting during long days studying. On top of that, make sure you are staying hydrated, not only to prevent colds, but also to starve off headaches and dizzy spells. I recommend keeping a refillable water bottle next to your desk/laptop/books as a constant reminder to drink up!
**Unpopular opinion: Try to not watch Netflix, Hulu, or go online before you go to bed. It has been proven that if you go to bed right after studying your brain will better remember what you went over, giving you les to review the next morning!
When it comes down to it, try not to stress. Grades do not represent your worth as a person, and finals should not be the end-all-be-all to whether or not you enjoyed your semester at school this term. Remember, what matters is what you learned, not what you are able to regurgitate onto a scantron. As long as you’re proud of yourself you nailed it!
Good luck everyone!