How to Survive Finals Week

Ah, finals week. The late-night hours filled with studying, the gobs of students taking espresso shots on the hour, the feelings of stress buzzing like electricity in the air. At the end of each semester, finals week strikes, and students across campus lean in, put their heads down, and push through the barrage of studying, paper-writing, and test taking so as to secure their final grades.

If it’s your first year of college, finals week can feel daunting. After all, there’s a lot weighing on these tests and papers, and you can’t help but feel like your future is hanging in the balance. So how do you get through such a formidable week? Are there tips and tricks that will lessen the stress and make things a bit easier? The answer is, yes! We’ve compiled some ideas for you that will hopefully assist in staving off stress, keep you on task, and help you achieve your very best during finals week.

How to get through finals week

1. Join a study group

Don’t go it alone! Some classes have built-in study groups, but if yours doesn’t, grab a few classmates and plan to meet up at your local coffee shop for some hardcore, focused work. Bouncing ideas off fellow students can not only help you process and remember the information more efficiently, but you’ll be able to observe other tactics that your classmates use to memorize material.

Are notecards their go to? Maybe that will work for you! Does writing everything down help them remember? Give it a try. There’s also something comforting in knowing you’re all in it together, and you’ll all be facing the same foe: your final. Camaraderie can be a key asset when you’re feeling weighed down by the burden of tests.

2. Take breaks

Studying is great—and no doubt, necessary—but you can’t expect to stare at your computer or your textbook for seven hours straight and not come away with a headache. Or go crazy. Make sure you’re actively taking breaks that let your mind wander, reset, and absorb all the information you’ve been taking in.

If you find yourself getting distracted regularly, it’s probably because you’re not giving yourself regular breaks. Go take a walk, make yourself dinner, or grab coffee with a friend. Finals week is busy, but it’s essential that you make some room for your mind to take a rest now and then.

3. Get some sleep

It’s tempting to stay up all night and study for finals, but studies have shown that you’ll actually remember more and do better on the test if you get a full night’s rest. Now, in order to avoid an all-nighter, you do have to plan ahead and make sure you’ve allotted enough time for yourself to study and get your work done. Then, when the clock strikes midnight (or whenever you typically head to bed), you’ll be able to guiltlessly set your studying aside and resume it in the morning.

4. Ask for help

Do the materials your studying make you feel like your drowning? Are you struggling to keep your head above the water? Reach out to your professor or connect with the tutoring department at your school. There’s no shame in asking for help, and there’s no doubt you’ll benefit yourself if you get some clarification on confusing subjects from someone who’s already been there. If you get stuck on a concept, send an email to your professor or ask to set up a meeting. You won’t be sorry you did so.

5. Be prepared

Double check your exam times and make sure you know the location you’re taking them as well. Set up some precautions for yourself: new batteries in your alarm clock or a gentle reminder call from a friend when it’s time to get up can’t hurt either. It would be a terrible shame to do all that studying and then accidentally miss your final because you slept in too late.

Set out your breakfast and clothes the night before, eat a nutritious breakfast, and walk into that exam room confidently. You’ve done what you could to prep, and now the test will simply run its course. You’ve put the work in, and that will show.