Ten tips for helping students survive finals

Finals week is right around the corner, which is considered one of the most stressful times during your college career. It seems like there are a million things to get done but zero time to do them. Don’t allow the stresses of finals week to overtake your life. With the help of the Academic Support Programs’ academic advisors and coaches and the College of EMS, a compiled list of ten helpful tips are listed below to help you survive the dreaded finals week.

1) Be sure to record all of your final exams in your calendar. The final exam schedule listings can be found on the Registrar’s webpage. This is a good tool even if you are not taking an exam – writing down the due date for projects and papers will help to ensure you are meeting the deadlines.

– Academic Support Programs, Surviving Finals 101

2) Plan out time for when you will study, and make sure to be specific about what you will study. Try to make a to-do list before studying. (Ex. From 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, I am going to read Chapter 4 and go over notes for that chapter. On Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., I will review Chapter 5 and 6 notes and do practice quizzes for Chapters 4-6.)

– Academic advisor and coach Karen Drees

3) If you’ve been “reading” consistently and don’t feel you are taking anything in, try reading from the end to the beginning. This will help get your brain “moving” again. This can also help during an exam, especially if you’ve read the same question several times and still can’t understand it. Read the question from end to beginning and then beginning to end, and your brain will engage with the information.

– Assistant director of Academic Support Programs Kia Hendrickson

4) Create a formula/note sheet for reviewing. Write down the most important concepts on one side of a single sheet of paper. Use this as a study tool when reviewing your other content, and the repetition will help reinforce the formulas.

– College of EMS STEM Study Skills

5) Take breaks and try to exercise. If you are starting to lose focus while studying, get up, go for a walk and clear your mind. Exercise can help you feel less stressed and more relaxed, and it will help you focus better on the task at hand.

6) Eat healthy. Healthy snacks will build your energy and fuel your brain. Make sure to drink plenty of water as well. Over-caffeinating could lead to a crash during a final.

7) Don’t forget to sleep! Pulling all-nighters will only lead to exhaustion, so focus on getting a solid night’s sleep before taking your exam so you can be more focused. Aim for about 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.

8) Determine what the exam is going to be covering. Is it going to be comprehensive or only cover the last few chapters discussed? It is important to determine this because that will help to focus study materials.

9) Create practice exam questions or use other active study techniques, such as flashcards, creating a study guide or rewriting notes. It is harder to retain information if you simply skim over your notes.

10) Stay positive. Remember all of the hard work you have put in during the semester. Negative talk and thinking will increase stress levels, so don’t panic. Stay confident, try to laugh and surround yourself with positive energy before heading in to take a final. Reward yourself for completing a study session and be sure to celebrate when finals are over.

– Academic advisor and coach Janelle Davis

If you would like more information on any of these tips, go to the University webpage and search for “STEM Study Skills” or “Academic Support Programs.” Good luck on finals, Pioneers!