This is the first weekend in over two months that I don’t have a test to study for or a project to work on, and I feel so lost on what to do with my free time! All I’ve done so far is binge-watch my favorite vloggers and read all the posts I’ve missed from bloggers that managed to balance school and blogging way better than I did (props to y’all). I’m 4 days away from Thanksgiving Break, but I’m pretty much in break mode already, so I wanted to finally get a post up and hop back into blogging!
I’m not sure when most colleges have finals week, but at UT we have one week of school after Thanksgiving Break, then a 2 day dead week, and then finals start up. That means I have about two weeks until I really need to start studying, and with only two finals this year, my goal is to get A’s on both.
Finals week always feels a bit weird to me. I’m half packed for winter break, my neighbors are leaving, campus looks more empty everyday, and there’s just a weird vibe everywhere you go because everyone around you is stressed and tired and just wants to go home.
I also find it extremely hard to stay focused when I don’t have a test the next day. I’ll end up letting myself watch Netflix for a couple hours, and soon enough the entire day has passed by and I didn’t get any studying done. I usually have a day or two between each final, so staying on track during those gaps is my biggest challenge!
Since this will be my fifth finals week in college, I feel like I finally understand how to play the game right to get those A’s (or B’s, engineering is hard & I’m not tryin’ to go crazy here), so here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that I hope will help you out!
1. Always have food nearby – when I get hangry, no work gets done. I keep a few snacks with me everywhere I go, and try to eat a meal before heading to the library for a long study session.
2. Make a list of topics to study – the first thing I do when I start studying for a test is write down all the topics that will be on it. Once I feel comfortable with one, I’ll make a check next to that topic so I know to invest more time in the others. Of course, the goal is to make checks next to all of them!
3. Wear comfy clothes – there’s literally no reason to dress up during finals week (unless that’s what you feel comfiest in, but jeans just don’t equate to comfy for me). I break out the chunky sweaters, leggings, and fuzzy socks on my study days, but go with whatever gets you motivated to work all day!
4. Pick a study spot you’ll actually focus at – personally, I can get a lot done at my apartment, but most people I know get super distracted when they’re by themselves. Your campus’s library is a great place to try, though they can get really packed during finals week so get their early! I work best when there’s food readily available, or within walking distance, so I don’t have to take off an hour to drive somewhere. If you haven’t figured it out yet, food is very important to my productivity.
5. Keep a water bottle with you – staying hydrated is important no matter what week it is, but with all the stress you’re going through, keeping your body healthy is extremely important! It’s easy to forget little things like drinking water when you’re focused on studying every hour of the day, but it will make a world of a difference in how you feel and how long you can stay focused.
6. Plan out your studying – depending on your finals schedule, you might have a ton of time before your first test, have tests every couple days, or have them all at the very beginning of the week. Based on that, and how comfortable you feel with each class, plan out a study schedule that maximizes your time.
7. Take breaks – burning yourself out by studying nonstop for 8 hours will just stress you out even more, because you probably didn’t eat and your mind won’t be focusing on the material as well as it could be. Get up, grab a snack, take a walk, or just chill for a good 15 minutes every hour or so, I promise it makes a difference!
8. Find a study partner – if any of your friends are still on campus, it’s probably because they’re studying for finals too, so ask some of them to study together! I work a lot better when I’m surrounded by other motivated and focused people, especially when they’re studying for the same final as me.
9. Redo old tests and homework problems – At least for math and science tests, homework problems are often the best things to study over. Ever since I started redoing all of my homework before tests, my grades have gotten so much better and I feel way more comfortable going in. Of course, talk to your professor to figure out if that’s the case for your tests!
10. Don’t let your performance on one test mess up another – freshman year, my first final was in my hardest class, and I was confident I bombed it. I let that sinking feeling affect how my other three finals went, even though those tests were much easier, and ended up doing pretty bad overall. Take that frustration and turn it into motivation to do better on your next test instead!
11. Put together a study playlist – when I’m starting to feel tired, I like to put in headphones and listen to something fast paced while I study. Music is also great for blocking out that one annoying table of people who came to the library just to talk loudly!
12. Find some natural light – a study spot with lots of natural light will help you stay focused, and it’s known to improve your mood and health as well!
13. Take care of yourself – yes, grades are important. But your mental health matters so much more. Don’t go three days without sleep just to get some extra studying in. That lack of sleep will hurt your grade more than those few hours of studying would’ve helped it! Eat reasonably healthy foods (so not fast food for every meal), but treat yourself to things you like too, whether that’s some ice cream after a test or some chocolate during a study break. Just know that you can only study so much before you’re just burning yourself out, and once you hit that limit, accept it and go into your test with a great mindset!
Good luck to everyone going into finals week soon, you got this!!