Staying motivated can be tough as summer draws near. The last weeks leading up to finals are some of the longest, toughest, and most daunting. There are many ways to prepare for finals, but it is important to also keep your motivation up and your mindset in a good place. It can be tough to start preparing for finals, especially when you have to review all of the material from a course.

There are a few practical ways you can prepare and stay motivated during the final weeks of the quarter.

Have a plan. 

Before even going into studying, it is smart to create a study plan to help you stay organized and go over information thoroughly. The best and easiest way to go about studying is by creating a study guide for yourself and highlighting the things you don't know well. Depending on the topic, you can then read over materials, review notes, or come up with questions that will help you grasp a better understanding of the subject. Flashcards are also a fantastic way to memorize material and quiz yourself. Whatever you studying for, never jump into studying without an organized plan of what you need to know, what you already know, and how you will go about remembering all of it.

Having a plan also involves setting aside time to actually study. From experience, I don't advise studying two nights before the exam. Prepare yourself a couple of weeks in advance. Start looking over your notes so that by the time you finish, you are ready to quiz yourself and kill your final! If you're really struggling to understand your subject, just ask your professor for a study guide or other tools you could use to make studying easier.

Rest often. 

Over-studying or cramming is not the best way to re-learn. Listen to your body and rest when you feel like you need it. Trying to study while your brain is exhausted is just a complete waste of time, and it will only leave you more tired in the end. Take breaks in-between studying and get outside. Take advantage of nice weather, or get food with friends. Small breaks and time away from textbooks will refresh your head and give you time to think about other things. You don't need to re-learn everything in one sitting. Studying is supposed to take time, and it should be something you do in sections. It is important to also make sure you are eating good and taking care of yourself when under a lot of stress. Include rest time and snack breaks in your studying plan!

Try not to slack off on final projects. 

It is so hard to keep motivation during these final weeks of school. Professors and instructors tend to assign final projects or essays in place of exams, which can be a blessing and a curse. With dwindling motivation, take your time and put in your best effort. Dedicate a few hours to polishing your assignments and making sure it's your best work. Do not let yourself give in to laziness and turn in a mediocre project. Keep in mind that summer is near! Why not get the best possible grade you can?

Do not less stress take over the time you could spend studying. Go to a cafe, sit outside, and figure out what you need to do to get the best grade. There are so many other resources on campus, like study groups or sessions. Take advantage of opportunities and free time to study. Simple dedication, motivation, and good planning will get you through finals.

Pushing through these next weeks and giving your best effort will make summer break even more rewarding.