If you ask college students what they worry about most during their time in school, some might say the freshman fifteen, choosing a major, or making friends. However, when you're coming up on finals week the response will likely be a resounding chorus of "final exams".
Finals week is perhaps the most stressful time of the semester for students because of the huge amount of pressure associated with these heavily-weighted tests. Like fording a raging river or getting through a line at the DMV, finals are something that must be survived.
Of course, you're not the first to suffer through finals week and you certainly won't be the last. This means that others can give you helpful hints about how to get through this end-of-term nightmare with a shred of sanity still intact. Here are just a few handy tips to help you survive finals week.
- Ask for Advice
Many others have gone before you. This is great news because it means you can learn from their mistakes. Speaking with parents, older siblings, friends, professors, campus counselors, RAs, and others who have gone through finals before you can be extremely helpful.
These people can give you the 411 on ways to make the most of your study time, how to de-stress, and strategies for success. You just have to ask to receive the advice that will get you through finals week in one piece.
- Plan for Success
Having a solid plan in place is essential if you want to keep all your ducks in a row when preparing for final exams. You can start as early as the moment you receive your syllabi at the beginning of the semester, setting aside time each week to refresh your memory on what you've learned so far.
This will help with retention so that you don't find yourself cramming right before finals. You should also make sure to space out the time needed for finals that aren't tests, such as projects and essays that make up your final grade in lieu of final exams. With proper planning you can reduce stress and have plenty of time to prep for success.
- Create a Reward System
Hours of studying can leave your brain feeling like mush, so try setting up a system of rewards that helps to keep you on track. Set an alarm that reminds you to get up and move around every hour, for example.
Grab a coffee, go for a short walk or jog, or do something enjoyable like playing a mobile game for a few minutes. Then return to studying with a brain that is refreshed and ready to focus. Don't forget to plan something fun for after finals as motivation and a reward for all your hard work.
Stress can kill your chances of succeeding on finals, so you have to find ways to stay calm, such as exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and perhaps even meditating or getting a massage. All can help to release tension, clear your mind, and optimize your study time.
- See to Your Health
When you're chowing on snacks from the vending machine and gulping down Red Bull like your life depends on it, you're putting a lot of stress on your body and messing with your own chemistry. This is not a recipe for success in your finals or USC's online MPA programs. Maintaining your health through proper nutrition, adequate rest, and regular exercise will not only help you to survive finals, but life in general.