With finals week *QUICKLY* approaching this is a subject matter most college students are discovering to be a reoccurring problem. That problem being sleep. Or in a college student’s world, getting more than a few hours of sleep. Or just being able to function slightly after getting barely no sleep.
For some unknown reason professors tend to pile on the work in the last couple of weeks. And by pile on the work I mean you have five finals, four exams, three four page essays, two projects, one research project, and ZERO time to do any of it.
Here are some tips that I found helpful during final exam week (aka final exam month):
- At the beginning of the course you were given a syllabus which outlined the entire expectations of each course for the entire semester. Make sure you keep this piece of paper as it is very useful in planning out which exams you have and when. It saves a lot of stress because you can either plan ahead of time or clear your schedule to make time during a busy week.
- Don’t start studying the night before an exam or wait until the last day to write your paper. The night before the exam should be used to review the material and see how much you know. Don’t stay up until three in the morning studying or writing your paper due at nine that day. Papers need editing! And three am you is not going to want to edit a five page paper, nor are you going to notice the corrections you should change. Start studying two or three days before the exam. It gives you more time and makes the night before much less stressful.
- Create a study guide of the material you need to know. Usually professors give you their “study guide” to what is going to be on the exam a week or so before. Make sure you at least look at this paper, since it has literally all the topics of the exam on it.But also, take the study guide to the next level by adding more details to it while you are studying.
- Create a calendar. In my dorm I have two and a planner that I take to my classes with me. I have a whiteboard calendar which I love and a paper calendar. Its helpful to have a handwritten calendar so you can physically see what days are going to be more busy than others and plan finals week around the non-busy days.
- Eat healthy and regularly. I know this is pretty simple and seems slightly silly to be on the list but eating regularly, meaning three meals a day, helps to regulate brain function. You’ll remember the materials, be able to study and pay attention better since your brain is functioning off the food it needs in order to run properly.
- As unrealistic as the next one seems, it is possible. Put away your phone and other electronics while you are studying. They only serve as distractions while you are studying or doing homework. I read somewhere once that for each time you look at your phone while doing homework, it takes twenty minutes to get back into what you were doing before.
- Here’s a simple one, sleep. Everyone needs on average eight hours of sleep each night in order to be able to function the following day. If you don’t get enough sleep the only thing you’ll be thinking about in class is how much you want to be in bed. So don’t stay up all night and make sure you get plenty of sleep before exams.
- Take breaks. As important as studying is it is also very important that you take breaks in between studying. One way some people recommend is 50 minutes of studying with 10 minutes to relax. Your brain can’t absorb all the material constantly for hours on end, give it a break from time to time.
- Don’t wait until you feel like studying. Chances are you’ll never feel like you want to study. So take you’re free time and study whether you feel like it or not. In the end, you’ll have do to it eventually and you don’t want to do it all the night before.
- Quiz yourself. Whatever your studying style may be, flashcards, online quizzes that the book offers, making a quizlet for yourself, just test yourself on the material. It helps you figure out what you know already and what you should spend more time reviewing for before the exam.
Lastly, make sure at the end of a long finals week you reward yourself for all your hard work and dedication. Congratulations! You made it through the week!