Finals week is here! Whether it’s your first semester or your last, finals week can be a challenge. Here’s our take on how to minimize the stress and anxiety it might bring.
Plan & Prioritize
Is your finals week full of exams, or are you going to be spending the next few days writing papers? It could be that you’ve got loads of online homework assignments to finish up, or maybe you’ve got a mix of things to do. No matter what your schedule looks like, the best way to prepare is to create a plan that helps you prioritize your time.
Creating a plan keeps you focused on the exams and deadlines that are coming up first. The better you plan and the more you stick to your plan, the less likely you are to begin feeling overwhelmed.
Preparing for exams means you’re going to have to study, but studying doesn’t just involve putting your nose in a book and hoping something will stick. Everyone studies differently. Some prefer complete quiet, others enjoy listening to music, and many people benefit from studying in a group.
The Silent Zone
If you find yourself distracted by a lot of noise and need to focus on tomorrow’s exam or the paper that’s due at midnight, you may want to try to find a quiet place on campus that will allow you to be productive. The newly renovated 5th floor of the Library has some pretty awesome study pods, but if those are all taken up, you may be able to find a spot in the Marshall Student Center or your residence hall. If you commute to campus, check out your local coffee shop for a cozy spot that’s already stocked with caffeine.
The Creative Thinker
Need to focus? Try listening to a playlist of instrumental music. Research has shown that listening to music while studying can help you memorize the information. There is one caveat; if you’re trying to memorize things in order, say, the steps in photosynthesis, then listening to music might hinder your ability to recall the steps in the correct order.
If you can’t listen to music, or if music is hurting your chances of remembering something later, there are plenty of other ways to study creatively. You can use colored pens, markers, and highlighters to make memorizing information more engaging and fun. Mnemonic devices – patterns of letters or ideas – are another common way of helping you remember things. For example, PEMDAS is a mnemonic acronym for the order of operations in math, and the phrase “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” helps us remember the order of the planets in our solar system.
The Group Effort
If you benefit from learning in a group setting, consider stopping by the Academic Success Center for Tutoring, or see if your class will have a study session as part of the Marshall Study Center finals week events. If those options don’t work for you, try posting in the discussion section of your Canvas course or on your class Facebook page to see if some of your classmates would like to get together.
As you create your finals week plan, be sure to build in time for breaks. Breaks allow your mind to process information and recharge, and can help you if you’re feeling stuck while trying to write. If you make time for your breaks, you’ll be more likely to stick to your plan and you’ll always know how much longer you’ve got to stay focused!
When you take a break, consider going for a walk or exercising at the Rec Center, cooking a hot meal, watching a show or movie with your friends, or checking out one of USF’s many finals week Wellness Activities. Do something that makes you happy and reward yourself for your productivity!
Once your break is over, you’ll be ready to knock out more studying!
Good luck on your finals!
Are you graduating? After you ace your finals, come back here to see how we’ll help you walk across the stage and into your career.