So I’ve been taking finals for a couple years now and while I am not perfect by any means, there are things that I have learned over the years to help make finals a little less miserable. More than likely, all of these things won’t work for every single person, but maybe one or two will!
1. Make a schedule of when/what you are going to study.
This way, you can prepare what classes need to be studied harder than others and you can lay out your whole week, or two, depending on when you have your finals. My favorite way to do this is excel or google calander. There are also a ton of print outs on the internet that you can download and fill in after printing. (Here is one option). The bigger and more time you can put on there, the better.
2. Don’t forget to plan breaks and time to sleep.
I think the number one thing that I have learned is to schedule time for myself. During the week, I try my best to keep up on all of the things I normally do – sleep 6-8 hours, shower regularly (I feel like this should go without saying, but it is finals week after all…), read my Bible, blog a little, take photos, spend time with Kevin and friends. This way, I get breaks in and I’m actually enjoying myself instead of being miserable.
3. Actually study.
Yep, sometimes we fall into the habit of “studying” on pinterest or twitter…but you gotta be real with yourself. Wouldn’t you rather actually study and then get a break to do something you love, rather than waste time on social media? So, if that means deactivating facebook, using the self control app for macs or having friends change passwords, by all means – do it!
4. Nourish your body properly.
Junk food makes you feel like crap and isn’t going to give your body the nutrients it needs to work it’s best. Make sure you eat square meals and drink plenty of water.
5. Help yourself
It may be a little late now, but if you are taking comprehensive finals, use your old notes, charts and flashcards instead of making new ones. I typically save everything that I have made or used during a semester in a drawer in my desk. Once the semester is over, I save all of my old tests/notes/papers in a binder.
6. Group study
One of the best ways to study is to explain how something works to someone else. Then, not only are you benefiting, but so are they! Run through it and really see if you have it memorized. If you have questions, ask your peers and see if they can explain something in a different way. (If that fails, email the professor!)
7. Use incentives
Motivate yourself by studying in a new place, buying yourself a coffee or pastry when you’re studying, or simply by allowing yourself time to do something you enjoy. My favorite places to study: local coffee shops, the library, or a comfy chair on Mizzou’s campus. I’ve even been that person who rides the stationary bike at the gym while flipping through flashcards (no shame).
Here are a couple more blogs with great ideas for finals week:
Alyssa Bethke – Living in the Busyness of Life (one of my favorite blog posts)
Popcosmo – How to study for finals
Smitten By – 25 healthy ways to deal with stress (just in case you’re already to that point…)
Serve in the light of the truth – 7 Tips to Ace Finals Week
Here’s to a successful finals week! Go get ’em!