The dreaded finals season is finally among us. Whether you have one final or five, this time of the year is hectic and stressful for all. Support your friends, take care of yourself, and most importantly, plan. The more organized you are, the better your headspace will be.
So, here's a step by step guide to help you survive finals week:
1. Set your alarms ahead of time.
If you have an early exam or two, make sure you set all your alarms ahead of time. Don't forget to also set alarms for those days you've put aside for studying.
2. Get some rest.
When there's so much information to learn, but so little time, it's easy to think pulling an all-nighter is a good idea. But it's not. It's definitely not.
3. Drink coffee, but more importantly, drink water.
Coffee is a godsend during this time, but if you're drinking three or four cups a day, don't forget to stay hydrated as well. Dehydration can cause grogginess, headaches, and dizziness.
4. Start the day off with a balanced breakfast.
Some ideas include scrambled eggs and toast, avocado toast, peanut butter toast, a smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt.
5. Write down everything.
After you've had your morning cup of coffee and some food, start your day off by writing down your to-do list. Make sure you prioritize, listing the subject you're having the most trouble with at the top (or the exam that's tomorrow). However, the key to surviving finals week is to take everything day by day, so make sure your to-do list isn't for the entire week!
6. Organize your calendar.
This is where you can lay out everything you have to do for the whole week. With a visual representation, you'll have a better idea of what to expect and can cross days off as needed.
7. Read your textbooks.
This doesn't apply to every class, as some professors do not teach from textbooks. However, if your professor has been assigning readings or bases lectures off of chapters in the book, you'll definitely want to read up on everything.
8. Create outlines or study guides from your class notes.
Chances are, your class notes include the most important information, especially if your professor repeatedly brought up certain topics. One of my favorite ways to study includes making study guides. You can also write down some questions that you anticipate will be on the exam. My professor last semester had us to do in order to "get inside his head," and it was really helpful.
9. Make flashcards or lists.
Flashcards are not everyone's favorite, but if you need to memorize definitions, they're not a bad choice.
10. Rewrite the most important points.
If you need to memorize definitions, certain facts, or main ideas, rewrite these as much as you can. Apparently, writing something down once is the same as reading it seven times.
11. Write down any questions you have.
If you're missing some of your notes, or certain concepts still aren't clear, write down your questions or concerns so you remember to go back to that information later.
12. Study with someone.
Studying with a partner is beneficial in so many ways. Sometimes, explaining concepts out loud can help you better understand them and memorize them yourself. You can also have your friend explain lessons to you in different ways, or have him or her answer any questions you may have.
13. Get answers to your questions.
Ask friends who have taken the course before, reach out to current classmates or go to your professor's office.
14. Review everything at night.
I don't know the scientific reason behind this, but sleeping and memory retention go hand in hand. Whether it's the night before your exam, or you're studying way in advance, make sure you review all your notes before bed.
Repeat these steps as needed.
16. Ace it.
Have some confidence!