Thanksgiving has come and gone. Your appetite and bank account are almost fully recovered from the weekend’s festivities when you decide to look back at the pile of homework you SWORE you were going to make a dent in, and the reality sinks in: final exams are coming.
Whether it’s your senior year or your first year, finals can be pretty intimidating when all you want to do is be done and get to Christmas break while simultaneously not wanting to fail all your classes.
Here are seven tips on how to get through one of the toughest stretches of the semester (so that you can enjoy that month of vacation):
1. Remain calm –
Do. Not. Panic. Yes, final exams are quite terrifying when you realize how late it is in the semester, but don’t lose faith. You can definitely get through this. Finals are very important to your grade. If need be, check with your professors to see where you currently stand in the class to see how hard you have to work for the remainder of the semester to get that grade you really want.
2. Prioritize –
Procrastination might have been your best friend all semester, but it might be time for that friendship to take a little break. Put the partying and binge watching on hold and take the time to see what deadlines you need to accomplish for the next couple of weeks, so you’re not overwhelmed. If you know you’re weaker in one class compared to another, put more of your time toward preparing for any of the final projects or exams that you might not be so confident in taking or finishing.
3. Stay on task! –
Keep reminders on your phone, post-it notes everywhere, trust reliable friends to keep you on track, or even just put alerts on your phone to pop up. Do what you have to because this is no time to slack off -- it’s the final stretch, baby! Sometimes, even finding a different place to study can make all the difference. Study groups with friends can be fun, but just remember to actually get things done because your grades are important.
4. DO NOT JUST WING IT –
Any grade can make the difference. No matter how competent you think you are in one class, do not just brush it off and not study. All classes matter, even if it’s just a little class that isn’t relevant to your major. Always review and put effort into your classwork. You don’t want to see your GPA go down slightly just because you decided to YOLO a class when you really could have put even a little bit of effort into it.
5. Take care of yourself –
As tempting as all-nighters fueled by varying types of energy drinks can be, 9/10 would not recommend doing so. (Let’s be real, the tenth person is either wired beyond belief getting work done or passed out because they were trying too hard to get work done.) You can’t accomplish anything while being burnt out. Naps are key; a 30 minute nap can make all the difference in the middle of studying. If you’re getting to the point that words are all blurring together, just save your progress and tackle the work head on early the next day. Tests are important, but your health is, too.
6. Breathe –
It may seem impossible -- you might even be cursing yourself for letting your procrastination get the best of you for this semester -- but nothing is impossible. If you’re just so stressed you’re going to cry, take a break. Breaks are important. Watch some cartoons, hang out with your friends, or take a walk. Give your mind a chance to recover. After a small break, just go back at it. A small change in scenery can make all the difference for you to successfully finish a project.
7. Believe in yourself! –
You will get through this! You’ve been sitting through the class, you probably know the material better than you even expect. Review your notes, consult classmates, skim through the textbook before the big exam. If you’re stuck on that final paper, try to use school resources to help you get through it, ask someone to check that you’re making sense, and don’t be afraid. More than likely, you are psyching yourself out and think you’re dumber than you truly are. Rest up before those final exams, and just do your best because that’s all anyone can really ask for.
You’ve made it this far, all you need to do is finish strong, and then you can treat yourself to the safety of home-cooked meals, your own bed, and all the Netflix you want. The break is right around the corner -- all you gotta do is own the rest of this semester, then that vacation is all yours!