The time has arrived – that one week where the end is so clearly in sight, and yet there is such a steep climb to make it through to the end – your finals. So before you hyperventilate yourself into a tizzy, here are five tips to help you survive.
- Create a Studying Schedule
Whether you are about to take finals for Case Western’s social work degree online or a public policy degree at University of Washington, you’ll want to organize your study schedule. To avoid overwhelming yourself, assign a specific time slot each day that allows you to focus on one subject at a time. Subjects that you struggle with might need multiple sessions prior to the exam, whereas your stronger subjects will probably only require a few hours of review.
If you’re the type of student that studies pretty far in advance, you can begin your schedule weeks before finals begin. If you usually wait until the last minute, be honest with yourself: how much time do you need for each subject in order to be successful? The key is to customize each subject according to your needs, and take it one step at a time.
- Remember to Eat (Properly)
As tempting as it might be for you to avoid wasting time on something like feeding yourself, remember that your brain needs sustenance, too. Avoid chugging energy drinks and skipping out on meals, as you’ll risk the sugar and caffeine crash that comes after. Make time in that study schedule for food breaks: go to the cafeteria and opt for whole grains and nutrient-dense protein like fish; healthy proteins can be found in simple snacks like peanut butter on apples, granola, or roasted chickpeas.
- Remember to Sleep
If you’ve followed your study schedule, there is no reason to be up at 4 A.M. cramming more information into your brain for your 8 A.M. exam. If you’re having trouble falling asleep because of everything swirling around in your head, try doing some simple breathing exercises. Slowly count backwards from ten, taking a deep breath for each number. If that doesn’t help, you also have the option of trying some meditation videos available online. Just put in headphones, and relax.
- Exercise in Bursts
Take occasional brain breaks during your time spent studying. Stand up, stretch, and do a thirty second burst of jumping jacks to get your blood flowing again. You can also jog in place, do some high-knees, or do some push-ups. You’ll be able to manage your stress levels more effectively and return to your work a little more alert.
5. Reward Yourself Afterwards
The relief of getting through the week might be reward enough for some. But if you need that last push to get you through, make time for yourself at the end to do something that you really enjoy. It could be spending time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, sleeping uninterrupted for hours on end, or even binge-watching your favorite shows for a few days. Visualize yourself doing this during moments of exhaustion to help you persevere. You will get through the week just fine, and you’ll be amazed at your own capability.