It is finals week, and the library becomes your house. Caffeine becomes your best friend and your textbooks your worst enemies. Some people call it hell week, others decide to just black out and forget about it. Me? I make the best out of it. As stressful as it is, finals week is not that bad for me. I manage to do all I have to do, and have enough hours of sleep. I realized that finals week can be just another week if you learn how to manage your time, eat the right food and learn how to study in the right way.
it is imperative that you eat well. It is even more important to fuel your brain with nutrients that will help you study and achieve your goal. If you eat just carbs and a bag (or two) of chips every time you open a book, your brain will get tired, and your body will be too. Feed your body with good food!
apples: it is weird, but apples are supposed to be better than caffeine when it comes to keeping you awake. Plus, an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
blueberries: they are not just delicious and great antioxidants (helloo beautiful skin!) but blueberries will help you improve short term memory. And you know, short memory is the first step towards long term memory! Is that an A on your math exam?
nuts: if you need something crunchy go for nuts instead of Tostitos. nuts have tons of vitamins and nutrients and will help you with cognitive decline.
it sounds scary, right? how are you going to study those 5 chapters of biology, solve all the physics problems, read the novel for your English class and your final paper?
to do lists: writing down what you have to do during the day will help you stay organized. Maybe you are not a total freak when it comes to organizing, and color coding doesn’t work for you, but having at least a post it with the things that most be done will help you visualize, have a sense of achievement and a reminder that you have to do certain things. How many times have you been in your bed, about to fall asleep and you remember you have homework for the next day?
planner: im not recommending this just because i am addicted to my planner, but because it actually works. to do lists are great, but having a place where you can visualize the bigger picture is the key to success. Write down the dates, when you will be studying, and when you will be having me time.
pomodoro technique: i wrote a whole post about this. If you focus on your math problems for 25 minutes, have a small break and then move to another task you will accomplish more.
chunks: and I’m not talking about chocolate chunks. normally finals are cumulative, and if you start studying from day one, the only thing you will have to worry about during finals’ week is reviewing. Study hard for your midterms, review your notes after your classes, read the book as soon as it is assigned and you will do great during this week.
the hardest part
write it down: it is proved that writing down the information will help you retain it better. When I have to study I take hand-written notes and then, when I’m done I re-write them in a prettier way. I read my notes a couple of times and that helps me retain the information and actually understanding it better.
extra credit: I am an overachiever. I will do everything I have to do, plus more. When it comes to extra credit I am the kind of girl who will do it even if I already have an A in the class. You should do the same. Extra credit is not just about having extra points in your final grade, but it will help you learn more about the class, it will show interest and worst case scenario, you do badly at your exam, you will have something that will compensate that.
use the syllabus: it is the last week of class and of course you will forget about this, but normally the syllabus has important information that can help you study in a better way. It can contain the exact pages you will need to learn, or the concepts.
flashcards: personally, im old fashioned and i bbuy flashcards and write on them. But there are also apps that will help you with that. Flashcards is the best way to quiz yourself and memorize information for your exams
gym: going to the gym seems like the last thing you want to do during finals’ week, but it is the perfect break for your brain and body. You’ve been cramming on work and tiring your brain, and obviously you don’t want to do the same to your body. But when you excersice, your body created endorphins, your brain gets more oxygen and you will be able to think more clearly and retain more information. So go for a run or a bike ride and you will feel much better. Plus, after you take a shower you will be so refresh that going back to study wont be a hassle.
nap: i don’t recommend this one because there is a high chance you will wake up feeling worst than before. If you are one of the crazy people who decided to pull an all nighter, then you should take a small nap. An hour and a half is a full REM cycle, and it is the ideal amount of time for a nap. Your brain needs to rest, so do you. Go ahead and fell into Morpheus arms.
fro-yo: caffeine seems like your best friend while studying, and if you are going out with your friends you will choose to go to Starbucks. Going for fro-yo is a great way to keep your body caffeine free and a way to relax with friends. Maybe setting time to do so is impossible, but planning on having at least one break a day will help you go through this stressful time.
And my last tip: believe in yourself! you can conquer this week and you will. Good lick with your exams!
what are your tips for finals week?
Yes, is that time of the year, and no, I dont mean the trees changing colors and Starbucks selling Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s time for final’s study sessions. Nights full of stress are here. You will put all-nighters, you will cry and you will procrastinate. You will kind of suffer this week, but as they said: what doesnt kill you makes you stronger! You can survive this week and this study sessions, I believe in you!
playlists: listen to Hans Zimmer on Pandora. Classic music will not only help you concentrate, but your brain actually works better after listening to classic music for a while. I know that listening to Mozzart is not part of your plan, but what about Pirates of the Carribean or Lion King songs?
water: stay hydrated! you will feel so tired if your body needs water, so treat it right and drink up!
coffee: but dont over do it. yes, my blog’s name is coffee beans because i am the kind of girl who will have three shots of espresso every morning (shame on me!), but overdoing your caffeine will not be good for your brain during study sessions
group: study with people will make you realize what you have been doing wrong, or it will make you practice even more while you explain things to them!
healthy snacks: of course a bag of tostitos and queso is on the top of your list, but it will be better for you to eat an apple or some crackers with hummus! treat your body and brain right and they will pay it back!
breaks: schedule some breaks! you will need it. It might seem like you should work for 12 straight hours, but believe me, a 20 minute break will help you instead of hurting you!
planner: plan your study time, and stick to it! if you know that you have a bio exam tomorrow, dont study for psych!
bring everything with you: forget about those back-and-forth trips to your desk! pack everything you will need to study!
if you liked this post you should check:
Ugh, you have tons of things this week. You have a math quiz, plus two papers to give in, you also have to read some chapters of the book for your bio class and 200 physics exercises to do. On top of that, you have to go to your clubs meeting and do the basic stuffs like take a shower, eat and sleep. But how will you achieve all of this?
priorities: I can’t stress this enough. You need to set your priorities. Do you really need to go to the gym? What has more weight on your final grade or what is due earlier this week? Do a list o priorities and see what is more important.
plan: maybe you are not big planning, but you should have a plan and stick to it. Decide when you are going to do what, and how you are going to do it.
study group: I have to admit I suck at studying with people. I talk to them and I will get distracted with the things around. But I have found study groups actually really helpful. Instead of studying from scratch with them, go with the information on your head or the math exercises done. The idea behind a study group is to compare answers and review things in case you are wrong. Create a study group and meet once in a while.
write it down: no, you won’t remember if you don’t write it down. You need to see what you have to do in order to actually do it. Also, when I say write it down I mean the information. You will retain more information if you write in down than if you type it or just read it.
one thing at a time: multitasking doesn’t work, you need your full attention towards one thing.
don’t wait until the last day: and by that I mean do it as soon as you know you have to do it. It’s college, you will have tons of things to do, so you better finish some of your assignments before they are due.
use your school resources: I am pretty sure your school has tons of resources that can help you improve your grades. My school actually has tons of them, and one that I will try soon is the writing center. They will help you with your papers once they are written.
gather your things: grab everything you need and have it with you. If you have to stand up every 5 minutes to get your stuff then you are getting distracted and you won’t finish your things.
don’t put an all nighter: during my freshman orientation my adviser asked us “would you train all night before a marathon? or would you sleep for 8 hours, eat a healthy breakfast and then go and run? The same goes with an exam”
pomodoro technique: this will help you with time management. You can read my post here.
drink water and eat food. Never skip a meal, you need fuel.