Finals week — it’s coming hard and fast, and it’s stressful. Many students, including myself, are scrambling to get caught up on the materials we’ve procrastinated over the last few weeks. Because, let’s face it: Life happens and it can set you back a few assignments. Sometimes it becomes hard to find the motivation to get good grades. However, that can all change. How you might ask? Perseverance and celebration. Though life can get difficult, you shouldn’t give up. In order to reach your goals — in this case, to ace your exams — you must learn how to persist, even if it means to get up before 6 a.m. to study the material and to delete all your social media apps for the week. The ability to put your foot down and take control of your life is a useful skill you’ll need for adulthood.
You also need to know when to relax. Studying is important, but so is having fun. Being able to let loose and celebrate the end of the quarter is crucial to your mental wellness. After all, it can be easy to lose yourself in the stress of finals. Regardless of how you choose to celebrate the end of the quarter, make sure it’s time spent on yourself and it’s what you want. It’s your celebration — not your friend’s, not your family’s and not your significant other’s. You made it through finals week, now you get to choose how to celebrate it.
With that being said, here are some tips and tricks to make finals week a bit easier.
PLAN OUT YOUR STUDY SCHEDULE
Having a game plan for when you should start your studies will definitely clear up your mind and minimize stress. Instead of planning it out in your head, physically write it down. Don’t save it in your phone notes, and don’t put it in your Google calendar. Go to the bookstore and buy a planner. All successful people keep a planner. Why? Because successful people know that the only thing in life they can’t ever get back is their time. Time doesn’t stop for anyone, it just keeps on going. Use your time wisely and plan ahead.
ORGANIZE A STUDY GROUP, BUT DON’T OVERDO IT
A study group of 2–3 people is good, while a study group with 5–10 people is a hangout. Study groups can be tricky because there are those who are motivated to get their work done and only speak when they have questions, while others aren’t as motivated, distracting other group members down by talking too much. A conversation in a study group should not be longer than 5 minutes unless it’s an explanation of a complicated problem. Otherwise, you’re wasting time. Therefore, be aware of your study group head count, and assess what works best for you!
CHOOSE YOUR ENVIRONMENT CAREFULLY
The main library may not be the best study environment during finals. The last two weeks of the quarter is when countless students rush to the library to study. During this time, the library can often be overcrowded with loud and inconsiderate students who may distract you from your studying. Instead, find an empty classroom, a local coffee shop or an isolated space on campus to maximize your studying time.
CHEW GUM WHILE STUDYING
Believe it or not, chewing gum can boost your test performance. Many studies have proven that if you chew gum while studying and then chew the same gum again five minutes before your test, it will help you remember what you studied. This method can help improve memory and enhance cognitive power.
UTILIZE YOUR PHONE’S TIMER
While studying, consider setting the alarm on your phone for 90 minutes and using that time to solely study. Once the alarm goes off, take a 10-minute break. Now, when I say a 10-minute break, I don’t mean surfing through social media. Studies have shown that it takes at least 15 minutes to transition back into your work once you check your phone. Instead, go to the restroom and splash your face with cold water, grab a healthy snack or practice some yoga stretches.
AVOID FAST-FOOD AT ALL COST
The temptation to grab a cheap and quick bite at McDonald’s or Burger King should be avoided. It will only slow you down and wear you out — the last thing you need during finals week. Remember that it’s also not healthy to consume processed food such as Cheetos, Top Ramen and sugary candy. Instead, try eating something healthier, opting for crackers and hummus, veggie sticks, a bowl of soup or pho broth, or your own preferred healthy snack..