Finals week is marked by long stretches of time in the library, lots of caffeine and an extreme lack of sleep. Final exams are a huge source of stress in the lives of college students, with huge portions of final grades riding on one test. After a semester’s worth of work, it’s easy to become unmotivated in the last stretch and let stress take over. However, the keys to success during finals week are to keep stress to a minimum and to find ways to stay motivated. While finals week might seem dark and never-ending right now, those tests will be over soon and you’ll survive. Until then, here are some pointers on how to manage the stress, stay motivated and survive finals week.
- Budget your time.Make a to-do list and schedule in time to finish everything on your list. Be realistic about what you can get done and don’t try to take on too much. If you know going through a semester’s worth of PowerPoints is going to take awhile, don’t plan to finish in an hour.
- Study in chunks and take breaks. Finals are all about endurance and challenging yourself to keep studying for as long as possible. To keep your focus, study for an hour and then give yourself a 15 or 20 minute break. You’ll be able to focus better and remember more. Taking frequent breaks will make it less likely that you’ll burn out on studying and help you stay focused and motivated to get through it.
- Make time to sleep.Too many people try to go for days without sleep during finals. Depriving yourself is counterintuitive to studying. You’ll be able to better remember what you’re studying if you’re well rested. If nothing else, sleep will be a welcome break from long hours spent in the library. You’ll be able to give those final exams everything you’ve got after a good night’s rest, rather than thinking about how tired you are after an all-nighter in the library.
- Don’t procrastinate. Putting everything off until the last minute will only create more stress. The sooner you start studying, the more you’ll be able to review and the better prepared you’ll be. Procrastinating only causes more stress, by making you think about everything you’ll have to get done later. Think about everything you’ll be able to do worry-free with the free time you’ll have later.
- Make studying fun. Get some friends from class together to review. Listen to upbeat music. Go somewhere besides the library to study, like a bookstore or coffee shop. Think of funny mnemonic devices. Bring your favorite candy as a snack. Do whatever you need to do to make studying a less dreadful task.
- Relax. Whether it’s going on a run, eating at your favorite place on campus or just taking a hot shower, plan time to get out of the library, relax and regroup. Take some time to think about something other than what’s on your to-do list.
- Keep things in perspective. You’ve been working hard all semester long, and all your work is going to reflect in your finals! Finals are only a part of your grade and they won’t make or break you.
- Reward yourself when you’re done! Plan to do something fun with friends the last day of finals, pick out a fun book to read or maybe buy a new outfit. You’ve certainly earned it.