9 Tips for Surviving Finals Week

 Don’t look now, but the fall semester is coming to a  close. The official final exam period starts next   Wednesday, December 5 and concludes the following  Tuesday, December 11.

 Whether this is your first experience with college finals or your last semester taking them, get ready! Final exams can play a critical role in your class grade, often counting for a greater percentage of the grade compared to midterms or other tests. Final grades determine your grade point average. And your GPA can affect plans to transfer to another college or even apply for jobs.

Check out these final exam preparation tips. The key components are effective time management, efficient study strategies and healthy habits!  

1. Check your final exam schedule

Finals are given at different times than when your classes meet. Be sure all of your exam times and locations are correctly marked on your calendar.

2. Divide and conquer your study time accordingly

Some students plan to spend equal amounts of time preparing for all of their finals. This might not be the best approach. Consider dividing your study time according to how difficult the test will be and how well you know the material. Allow more study time for a final that might be harder for you than others.

3. Know what material you’ll be tested on

Will the test cover the entire semester or only material since the midterm or last exam? Will questions come from lecture notes or the book? Figure out what material you’ll be tested on to help you plan your study time accordingly.

4. Rally your support network

Call on friends and family to help cook meals, tend to the kids, run errands or any other chores you usually do, freeing up more time to study.

5. Scale back your obligations

If you usually prepare the Sunday family meal, it’s okay to order take out this week. Do you have volunteer commitments? See if the volunteer group can spare you not being there until December 12. Many students hold part-time jobs while in school. If you haven’t already done so, consider talking to your boss about adjusting your work schedule during the upcoming week. Reducing or strategically scheduling your hours can do wonders for your final exam preparation and success.

6. Weigh study group options closely

Study groups become very popular during final exams. More people collectively cracking the books equals success, right? Not always. If you know you’ll study better by yourself, don’t give in to peer pressure. On the other hand, if you’d benefit from a study buddy group, make sure the buddies have a vested effort in the process. Now’s not the time to assume the always-present-group role of worker bee.   

7. Eat healthy and sleep well

This tip makes every “tips for final exams” list – and for good reason. Surviving on coffee and cat naps is ineffective. Don’t skip meals, eat healthy, energizing snacks, drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. 

8. Plan a smooth commute to campus

The day of your final exam isn’t the day to miss the bus, get stuck in traffic or have difficulty finding a parking space. Plan accordingly, even if doing so means arriving to campus early.

9. Don’t panic

You’ll always want “just one more day” to review “just one more chapter.” But once you’re sitting in the exam room don’t panic. You’ll experience ups and downs during the exam, moments when you know it all and times when the answer evaporates before you can write it down. Take deep breaths, answer questions fully, take time to review your answers and try your best.

Best of luck on your finals!