It’s May. You’re a college senior. Graduation is literally within reach. But, before you throw your cap and start popping bottles of champagne, there’s one more thing to get through: Finals week. Ack! Again?! You might be wondering how it’s possible to sit through a test or concentrate on a final paper in between packing up your dorm/apartment before leaving all of college life behind. Lucky for you, we’re here to help! Here are some tips on surviving your last finals week as a college student:
- Don’t panic!: This finals week may feel different to you and that’s because it is! The added stress of “if I don’t pass, will I graduate?!” can just compound the anxiety. Try not to stress and if panic starts to set in, just remember that millions of students have gone through this before you and survived! You’ve also done this before which got you to this crucial moment. You’re doing great and are almost there!
- Review your final requirements for each course: Make sure you confirm what is needed from you ahead of finals week. Check in with your professors if you are missing grades for finished assignments and tie up any loose ends. You want to make sure you receive credit for everything!
- Create a plan: Check your exam times and deadlines and plan accordingly. Do you have an exam on Thursday, but a 20-page paper due Friday? Which will require more time and energy? Are your exams in-person or online?
- Schedule study times and paper writing: Staying ahead of the curve and scheduling out time for assignments will set you up for success!
- Reward yourself with breaks: Studies show that taking a break can lead to an “a-ha! moment” when solving a problem. Psychology Today shared a theory “that our unconscious mind continues to work on the problem, free from interference from our conscious mind's unhelpful strategies” often leading to clarity and/or the answer. Get outside, stretch, go for a walk, or head to the gym to clear your head before jumping back in. College campuses are also great at providing late-night activities for students during finals week. It creates a fun “we’re in this together” atmosphere, too!
- Get plenty of sleep: You may be tempted to pull all-nighters, but studies show that’s not helpful or healthy for you. According to The Sleep Foundation, “Sacrificing sleep for studying does not actually improve your performance. In fact, spending more time asleep during finals week could actually help you earn better grades.”
- Eat a balanced diet / Stay hydrated!: Eating well and staying hydrated (with something other than coffee!) is just as important as getting the right amount of sleep. Barbour Health suggests, “Eating a well-balanced meal and foods that boost productivity will become your study buddy as you tackle exams. Avocados, nuts, berries and dark chocolate will give you that extra brain power every student needs during exam week.”
- Pace yourself - Don’t cram!: You may be tempted to cram right before your exam. Don’t! Studies have shown that cramming increases stress which lowers the ability to concentrate. Losing concentration is definitely not helpful when it comes to finals.
- Phone a friend / join study groups: It’s no fun to study alone and collaborating with other classmates may offer up different studying techniques or help you through those tough topics. Additionally, studies show that studying in groups and teaching others helps you retain information better than just reading through a textbook.
- Celebrate!: You’ve passed in everything and finished all of your tests. Sit back, relax, and don’t overthink any of it. It’s out of your hands now. You did great!
Congratulations! You’ve survived your last college finals week! Now the fun begins. Soak in these last moments before graduation, connect with your classmates, and don’t forget to order your academic recognition gear before the big day ;)