How to survive finals week in college

Thanksgiving break is a tease. We finally get a few days off of class to go home and spend time with our family and just when we start to get comfortable, we are sent back to school for the final grueling two weeks of the semester.

With winter break being so close yet so far, it can be hard for many students to stay focused and push through finals week. Here are a few tips to help you survive finals that I find work best for me around this time of the semester.

PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!

If you don’t plan out your week . . . what are you doing? I would be so lost if I didn’t sit down each Sunday night and plan out what I had to do the following week. When it comes to planning, nothing has to be set in stone, but it can be really useful to have some idea of what your week is going to look like. I personally use an agenda, but if you don’t want to buy an agenda, then try using Google Calendar or any online calendar to plan your week.

I usually use my agenda and days-of-the-week whiteboard to plan. Every Sunday, I pull out my agenda and see if I have any exams or other important events coming up for the following week. I write those dates out on my whiteboard so I am reminded of them each day when I wake up and eat breakfast at my desk. I do the same thing with any homework assignments I have due that day too.

My favorite part about planning is making lists and being able to cross things off of it once I finish the task. It makes me feel more accomplished than I probably am, but at this point in the semester, I need all the motivation I can get. That being said, try to make a to-do list each morning to carry around with you throughout the day so you can cross things off as you go! When I have an exam coming up, I like to incorporate my study plan into my to-do list.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

By the end of the semester, my attention span is not a great as it could be. I find myself having to take more breaks and that’s perfectly okay if you do it correctly. Instead of doing assignment after assignment after assignment, I take a five minute break after each assignment. That way I can rejuvenate my mind before starting the next task.

Another thing I make sure I do as much as possible during exam season is exercise. This is a longer break, but at the end of the day it is necessary because it really helps me release all of the stress I have.

GET SOME SLEEP

Since final exams are a stressful time in the semester, students tend to put sleep on the back burner. Do not be that student. Listen to your body when it’s tired because getting enough sleep is so important. You can always wake up early instead of sleeping in to continue studying for your exam!

Your body needs time to recover from the day and you will find it easier to stay focused on your work when you aren’t drowsy. Getting the proper amount of sleep also helps reduce memory loss. The whole goal of studying is to remember things for our exams, so if that little fact doesn’t make you put sleep in your list of priorities at this time of the year, I don’t know what will.

DO NOT PROCRASTINATE

Procrastinating study time for an exam hardly ever produces the results you really want to get. So a simple way around that is to just do your work! Put in the time to get the good grade because when it’s all said and done you will be much happier. You don’t want to look back and know that you wasted time and could have done better. It’s not a great feeling.

When it comes to allocating the proper amount of time to study for each exam, I think it’s best to evaluate how you feel about the material first. If you already feel pretty confident, then maybe give yourself two to three days time to study so you can review everything. If you aren’t feeling so confident and are kind of stressing about an exam, start studying a week in advance. That way you can break it down and do it section by section. There is no way I would have ended with an A in my Statistics class if I hadn’t started studying a week in advance for each exam last year.

FIGURING OUT WHERE TO STUDY

First things first . . . make sure you are studying at a desk or a table. Sitting in bed to study is a BAD idea because you will find yourself falling asleep or watching Netflix instead. You want to make sure the location you chose to study at is a place where you will be able to focus and not get distracted. This varies for everyone.

I prefer to study at the library because I like a quiet atmosphere when I really need to concentrate. Other places to study at are study rooms on campus, the desk in your apartment/dorm room, or a coffee shop. I’ve done work at all places, but I think it’s important to choose the spot you know you will be most the productive at when you are preparing for finals.

MUSIC SELECTION

Listening to music while I study is a newer study tool for me. I didn’t start doing it until I started college here at UF. I realized that I like the background noise playing in my ear because it helps me tune out everyone around me. I can’t listen to songs with words because then I will start singing the lyrics, so I usually listen to sounds of rain. Linked below is the album I like to listen to, as well as, a few other popular study albums on Spotify. The premade albums for studying are the best!

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STUDY ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST

  • Laptop and charger
  • Phone and charger
  • Textbooks or notebooks you may need for the day
  • A snack
  • COFFEE
  • Agenda
  • To-do list
  • Colorful Pens and highlighter (color ink sticks with you better than black ink does)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Headphones

Comment down below any of your study tips or essentials that I may have left out!

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