how to get through finals week sane

For me, finals week is next week, and I'm definitely dreading it. I've been trying to study (mostly unsuccessfully), but hopefully I'll turn a new leaf in time to make it through my classes.

Here are some tips I've found helpful for concentrating, relaxing, and making it through finals (and dead week!)

1. pandora's classical for studying station
My house isn't completely quiet, and I find it hard to concentrate when there are people talking, kids playing, or cars driving by. So I use Pandora's Classical For Studying Station with my speakers, on low volume, to block out unwanted noise.

I personally can't listen to songs with lyrics because they distract me, and studies have shown the lyrics take up space in your brain that could be used to exam material, so I wouldn't suggest it, but you do you!

2. (25/5)x2, 15
While this looks like some fancy math equation, it isn't! It's how I find is most productive to chunk time for me. I spend 25 mins concentrating on my material, reviewing the textbook, homework, and tests, and I take a 5 min break after that time is up. After 2 of these 30 min chunks, I take a longer, 15 min break.

I usually use my short break times to stand up, walk around my room, and go to the kitchen to restock. Sometimes I'll do some basic yoga stretching so I don't cramp up. On my longer breaks, I'll go talk to friends, walk outside, or play with my dog. I wouldn't recommend trying to squeeze in a TV episode or Youtube videos, as it's impossible to stop once you've started. Trust me, I've been down that hole many times!

3. be comfy
For me, this means no pants, sitting in my sleeping bag. It's always a little chilly in my room, and I like to be able to feel my toes without layers of socks or heating on full blast. Sleeping bags are made to be warm for subzero temperatures, so they work out for my room perfectly.

If this means clearing off your whole desk, turning on the fan, making sure you have food stockpiled, whatever, then go for it! My favorite thing to drink is Spicy Chai from Trader Joe's, even when it's 80 degrees out. It's hard enough to concentrate for long periods of time, much less in an uncomfortable environment.

4. make study guides/cheat sheets
Some classes let you have a page/index card of notes to use for finals. Even if they don't, I would strongly suggest making a page (or pages) of notes to study from. I try to do these 1-2 weeks beforehand, and I study exclusively from these. It's a lot easier to learn from your own words, and it helps really cement the material.

I also color code my notes for dates, names, and vocab (both specific to that time and in general). Develop a system that works for you and what you're learning, and try to stick to that. It'll save you lots of brainache if you choose the same thing for all your classes.

5. study with a friend (or don't!)
Study parties sound so fun, at least in theory. I've never gone to one, although I've been invited many times. I know I can't study as well with other people, and I'm bound to be pulled off task. My type of studying is alone, with music playing, through notes and review. However, I know some people study better out loud or with friends. If that's your thing, go for it and use it to you advantage! You just have to try it out and see what works best for you.

6. calculate your finals grade
I love this website. It has every possible way your finals may be scored, and it's been pretty accurate for me so far. Sometimes, you're really worried about a certain class, and once you put in all the numbers, turns out you could get a 50% on the final and still do alright.

7. realize that finals are not everything
Cliche as it sounds, grades and school are not the end all, be all. A bad grade one year will not drastically impact your life afterwards, and everything will be ok.

Much luck sent to everyone taking their finals soon!

Please let me know if you have any tips for making it through finals week, as I'm still struggling with that...




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