Finals week is stressful, it’s basically a known fact. It’s that time in the semester that can make or break your GPA which is a lot to handle. It doesn’t take much to feel overwhelmed to the point of feeling like you’re drowning in stress. There are ways to manage and relieve some of that pressure. Below are a few tips on how to best manage your time during finals week.
1. Figure Out What Will Take The Most Time
After an entire semester you should at this point know what classes are easy and which classes are difficult. If you have gotten nothing but A’s in a class you might not need to focus on that one as much as the class you barely comprehend. Also consider the way your finals week is scheduled. Don’t exclusively study for an exam on Monday that you don’t have until Friday evening when you have three other exams between those two days. For some finals week doesn’t even include exams it’s made up exclusively of projects. If that’s the case figure out what projects will take longer than others.
2. Make A Calendar
After you figured out what is a priority and what isn’t the next step is making a calendar or some kind of schedule. Even if you aren’t someone who naturally uses a planner or calendars you really should try doing it for at least finals week. That way you can visually see how your week is going to look like. You will have realistic expectations of what you can and can’t do during finals week. It might seem daunting seeing the next few days of your life completely mapped out but it is beyond beneficial. Rather than worrying about whether or not you have time to study for something you will have the peace of mind knowing you do. Of course plans change, things happen. Making a calendar will also help with that because if you have to spend time doing something else you’ll get to see what else you can potentially switch around so you can focus on whatever it was you missed.
3. Schedule Breaks
While it is important to not slack off during finals week taking breaks does matter. Sitting at a desk for hours looking at a screen can be exhausting and bad for you. Plan out breaks in between studying. That could be anything from getting up and stretching to going and working out. Your mind can only retain so much at a time and if you push yourself too much you’ll just end up wasting your time. Don’t feel like you have to be glued to your desk.
4. Make Sure To Eat
It’s important to eat well during finals week. No one expects you to be able to create three course meals during finals week but you also shouldn’t be living off a back of cheese puffs. This might require some early planning to maintain a healthy diet during finals week. If you know come Monday you’re going to have absolutely no time try meal prepping. That way you won’t even have to worry about what you’re going to eat because food will already be prepared for you. Also if you need to snack make it a healthy snack.
5. Don’t Put Things Off
If you can do it today, do it today. Realistically there just isn’t going to be that much free time during finals week, and that’s okay. If on your way home you need to get groceries or you’re already in the book store and need to get a test taking booklet get it done then and there. That way you aren’t pressed for time because you put something off.
6. Do Not Skimp On Sleep
It might seem tempting to sleep only a few hours or not sleep at all but this is the absolute worst thing you can do during finals week. Studying well into early hours of the morning is doing more harm than good. There comes a point where you’re so tired you simply aren’t retaining anything anymore and forcing yourself to keep working is a fool’s errand. Be sure to maintain your average sleep schedule. That doesn’t mean you have to go to bed at the same time but try to sleep the same hours you normally do. If you want to study before an early exam try going to bed earlier than you normally would. You’ll still be getting the same amount of sleep and will be able to actually function rather than walk through finals week in a haze.
7. Plan Study Groups
Even if you aren’t best friends with your classmates you’re all in this together. Odds are others will appreciate the idea of creating a study group. Sometimes others can bring a different perspective to a situation or they understand something you can’t seem to wrap your brain around. Plus finals week can be very isolating. It’s easy to completely turn in on yourself but when you’re in a study group you’re not only getting help from multiple people you’re getting social time as well. Knowing that you’re not the only one stressing about finals week can help significantly.
8. Meet With Professors
If all else fails and you still feel like you’re not handling the stress of finals week and your schedule is out of your control meet with your professor. Ideally when finals weeks rolls around you’ll have already met with them at least once, that’s always important. Meeting with your professor shouldn’t be used as an opportunity to beg for your grade or ask for extra credit. Rather what you should do is be upfront with them about whatever it is you’re struggling with. For many people test taking can cause extreme anxiety and can hinder your performance. There’s nothing wrong and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help. Most professors want their students to succeed and if it’s possible you just might be able to get more time to take an exam. At some universities you might need to go through the disabilities office but that’s still okay. What matters is that you take an exam in an environment that’s ideal for you.