Finals are creeping up on us. This is the most stressful/happy time of the year. Everyone is excited for winter break and the holidays, and at the same time everyone is so done with the current semester and just wants to leave.
My freshman year I was so done and tired and I felt like I had had a cold for 3 months that I barely prepared for finals. I studied, but I didn't prepare, and I didn't do well. I didn't know how. Preparing physically and mentally for finals helps make studying for finals so much less stressful!
Preparing for Finals
| Gather Supplies |
The first thing I do (usually over Thanksgiving Break) is gather school supplies and 'other' supplies. I don't buy all new school supplies, just anything I've run out of or things I'll know I need: black pens, #2 pencils, extra 5x7 flashcards, etc.
The 'other' supplies I gather are things I'll need for my apartment (or dorm for the last two years). This mostly consists of snacks, but this year I got toilet paper and some extra groceries. The snacks I'm LOVING right now are these peanut Odwalla bars, and Trader Joes fruit leathers!
| Create a Fitness Schedule |
I don't work out. I'm the first to admit it. I never go to the gym, the last time I actively worked out was when I did Kayla Instines' Beach Body Guide last spring. But every finals week I always pick up some type of little routine. Now that I work at the gym its easy to hop on the treadmill after work, but I've been pressured into taking advantage of the early morning yoga classes offered for free at my campus rec center which I'll be starting this week!
Regardless of if you have a fitness routine or not, look into what group fitness classes might be offered at your campus' gym. They're usually free and incorporating fitness into your finals week schedule can help raise your endorphins and lower stress.
| Time Block |
At my university (like most) we get one day off, Reading Day, before finals start. This means that most of your studying is going to have to be done during a normal day of classes. My favorite way to prepare for finals is to "organize" my time with time blocking.
The basis of time blocking is looking at the open blocks of time you have in your schedule and planning to do specific work during those blocks of time.
For example: on Tuesday I get out of my first class at 11:15 and my next class doesn't start until 2:30, so I have 3 hours and 15 minutes of time. I know it'll take me time to get from my first class to the library and from the library to my next class so I start time blocking for 2 hrs and 45 min. If I know I want to make flashcards for my Management class I'll block 30 min for Management, then another 30 minute block for my Accounting class, a 15 minute block for grabbing a snack, etc. until I've filled up the the 2 hours and 45 minutes.
I never block more than 30 minutes for one subject when I'm studying (studying meaning not doing a timed assignment) because I've noticed that I start to get restless and lose interest when I do the same thing for long periods of time. Breaking my studying up into 30 minute blocks for each of my subjects helps me dedicate time to each of my classes while keeping me focused.
| Clean Your Space |
You know that feeling when you walk into your room and everything is where its supposed to be, and you can find everything you need and you don't trip over anything? It rarely happens in college. But that feeling is amazing and necessary during finals week for survival.
Rather than say your procrastinating studying by cleaning, say your preparing for your finals by cleaning! Do a deep clean of your space the Sunday before finals start and your mental state will be very happy come Reading Day.
| Start Packing Early |
Whether it's the finals before winter break and your just going home for the month, or your going abroad, or its summer break and you have to completely move out of your dorm, you're going to have to do some kind of packing.
Pack your non-essentials first then as you get closer pack the rest. As for me I know that at school I pretty much only wear leggings and oversized sweatshirts, so I'm packing all my sweaters and button downs that I'll need for work this week. I'm also decluttering any clothes I know I can donate and packing any binders or textbooks I'm not selling so I can store them at home.
Finals week is stressful, but the key is to not get so caught up in the week that you forget to prepare. Getting yourself mentally ready and your space physically ready will help dramatically decrease your stress level, making finals seem just like any other week!