10 Small Ways to Prepare for Finals Before Stress Hits
Have you ever been so stressed out that you get even more stressed out because of how stressed out you are and you don’t want to be more stressed but you’re actually just trapped in an endless cycle of stress? Yeah, me too. If your college experience is anything like mine, it involves endless midterms and then as soon as you escape midterms, all of a sudden it’s finals. Use the stress of college as a motivator to help you be your best self, instead of letting it destroy your sleep schedule, eating habits, self-esteem, GPA, etc. Beat the stress this year with these helpful tips!
1. Study smarter
Put in the effort now, to make your life easier later. If you have a week with a lighter load of work, then do some extra! Get ahead or go back and study things you may have forgotten that you will need to know for the test. (Pro tip: treat yourself to a sweet snack or something while you do this extra work, it helps!)
2. Make flash cards as you learn
If you know you will need flashcards to study for your finals, start making those flashcards now, as you learn the material! This way, you won’t spend an hour copying down terms and definitions mindlessly and you can spend that hour studying instead!
3. Healthy snacks
Keep your mind healthy! If you aren’t practicing healthy habits now, you probably won’t practice them during finals week. Replace unhealthy snacks with brain healthy snacks like almonds or carrots and hummus. I can personally testify that you’ll be able to afford healthy snacks if you cut down all those trips to Chick-Fil-A, and the vending machines on campus.
4. Healthy sleep
Pulling all-nighters is so unnecessary and so unhealthy (especially when fueled by caffeine). So stop. Get the rest your body desperately needs, so you can think more clearly, learn better, and just overall be at a higher level of well-being. The National Sleep Foundation recommends young adults get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Set a goal bedtime and a specific time to wake up. If you plan ahead, you can still get your school work done and sleep a healthy amount.
5. Healthy study breaks
We all need a break sometimes. Find something you enjoy that you can use a study break that doesn’t take too much time and will help you feel refreshed and ready to go back to studying. My personal study breaks include going outside and walking around, playing an instrument, calling a friend and writing these articles.
6. Know your schedule and prioritize
Know your finals schedule ahead of time so you know what to study at what times. You know what your hard and easy classes are. Plan your study schedule on that, devote more time to what needs the most time. I think this seems so obvious that many people don’t take the time to actually do it. Write down your finals study schedule in a planner, a calendar, the back of a random piece of paper- just somewhere, so you can commit to it.
7. Learn to accept bad days, and pick yourself back up
Guess what? There are going to be days when your brain can’t handle studying anymore. It happens. I have learned that it is not worth it to sit in front of my laptop for an hour and not learn anything. On these days I try to be as productive as I can and get those random to-do list things done that I never have time for- like cleaning my room or my car, getting my oil changed, laundry, etc.
8. Attend test reviews
TA’s literally get paid to help you take these classes- use them! Test reviews are SO helpful- and although they are a sacrifice of your time- it’s probably time that you should be spending studying anyway.
9. Get away from technology.
I recently did a 10- day social media fast; it was liberating! During those 10 days I had my first Anatomy midterm and I got an A! Limiting distractions is key to getting good grades and boosting that GPA. I’m not saying to get rid of social media completely- but set limits for yourself and learn to recognize and stop yourself when you are aimlessly scrolling through a feed when you could be flipping through a Quizlet. This tip is so important when it comes to preparing for finals.
10. Have fun!
Don’t forget that college isn’t all about grades. Yes, grades are important, and finals are definitely important. However, take breaks, find joy in the journey of life. You don’t have to wait until graduation, or until you have a career, to love your life. Make time for hobbies and adventures!