How to Study During Finals Week

A paragon of natural selection in college, finals week had a very anxious me desperately flipping pages upon pages of homework and notes, attempting to re-soak in half a semester’s worth of information an hour before the final and hoping for the best.

If that sounds familiar, don’t worry because same. Those designer (eye)bags, energy drinks/caffeinated beverages/desperate willpower aren’t strangers to college students (or at least to just me). For my first semester finals – which happened to oh-so-conveniently be on the same day, I had slept at 5am the previous day continuously drinking coffee and trying to fit as much information as I could into my brain before the exams.

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Walking to work after a rainy morning during dead week

Yes, I did know it was probably a bad idea, and YES I can confirm that it was probably the worst idea I had in my life since it didn’t do much more than make me irritable and intermittently focused during testing. After one semester of making mistakes and going through gruesome torture-studying, I’ve compiled some tips for your future convenience 😇:

  1. The phone – Put it on airplane mode, or turn it off. Let everyone who should know that you’re going MIA, and give the phone to your best friend or someone trustworthy to hide until a specified time! My roomie and I hid each other’s phones until we had finished studying.
  2. The computer – Unless all your work is on here or you have relentless self-control, I suggest putting this away and saving computer work for after you’ve finished studying everything else that doesn’t require data/Internet access.
  3. The location – Figure out the best place to study efficiently. I found secluded, quiet rooms within my dorm to study either by myself or with one other friend (it was raining outside – a SoCal girl is not going out in that NorCal weather)
  4. The friend – If his/her presence helps you study, so be it. I normally wouldn’t recommend it though, since one (or both) of you may not be able to resist temptation to talk. I know I tend to distract myself and everyone else in the room with me sometimes LOL I’m so sorry to my victims
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Enjoying CREAM (strawberry ice cream between macadamia cookies) on a study break 😋

I used to have extended periods of insomnia, but found the cure upon studying math. So while I’m normally not a fan of caffeine, I was drinking copious amounts of straight black coffee – with equally profuse quantities of sugar – to stay alive. It really took a toll on me though; after falling asleep at my desk several times, I figured that staying up all night is probably not the most efficient option. Remember to take regular ten to fifteen minute breaks every hour of studying, and don’t stress yourself out trying to beat the curve!

In summary, if you want to do well on your finals: cut off most of your normal social life, and get good sleep two days prior to and a day before your exam. Don’t rely too much on Five Hour Energy, caffeine or other energy drinks, because it’ll only be detrimental to your health after a while. I guarantee it’ll be worth it if you study well, and your transcript will thank you later. I do wonder how everyone else manages to get through finals week though – comments or messages are definitely welcomed (“Leave a Reply” down below)!

-Melanie

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