5 tips to conquer finals week (without turning into Amanda Bynes)

Gabby Nowicki


It’s the worst time of the semester –– Finals Week.

Work starts to pile up, grade calculations are done in abundance, and your brain starts to pour out your ears.
The gym empties and the library fills. Students are seen sprawled across campus in tears of despair and exhaustion. But follow these quick tips I’ve compiled and you might be able to make it out alive.

1. Sleep, nap, repeat.
During this time, your brain needs rest more than ever. Studies have shown that those who study some, sleep, and then study more do better on exams than those who pull an all-nighter. Your brain does not retain information when under stress or sleep deprived so it is best to get at least four to five hours of sleep and then start to study again. Other studies have shown that students that pull an all-nighter before an exam have lower GPAs than those who study and sleep.

2. Take a break!
Studying straight for hours on end will not benefit you. Many students use cramming to prepare for their exams, as do I occasionally. We have all fallen victim to the “I haven’t paid attention at all so I need to learn an entire semesters worth of information in the next 12 hours.” Studies show that it is best to space out your material by studying and reviewing 30 to 40 minutes a day, the week before the test.

If you find that you must cram, do it right. Take breaks every few half hours. Reward and motivate yourself. Allow ten minutes on social media for every concept that you fully grasp. Try switching topics every couple hours to give your brain a fresh look at the material. Shower! Clean! Watch a show! Just do something other than study straight for 12 hours.
Taking a small break(s) throughout your study session will give you and your brain time to recuperate and make the cramming more successful.

3. Eat! (Good food…)
Food is fuel for the body. It gives your cells the energy to carry you throughout daily tasks. But eat bad food and your body will backfire. This is especially true for finals week. I know we all binge occasionally and need that candy bar or bag of chips, but please limit yourself! You will perform so much better on finals if you feed your body the proper nutrition.
Oily fish, such as salmon; eggs, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter and even coffee in limited amounts are all food that should be in your diet during finals week. These foods have omega 3s, protein, antioxidants and important vitamins that all help keep you focused and energized. Processed foods will only do the opposite. The morning of the exam, make sure to eat a breakfast with some of these foods to start the day off right and give you success on the exam!

4. Cry.
It’s okay to cry. Stress does that. Let it out. Sob in the shower, library, car, or sidewalk. Vent to your roommates, friends, parents. Throw that textbook (please not your computer). Have a quick mental breakdown; it’s fine. But as soon as you are done hating the world, find positivity! Remind yourself that you can do this! Take it day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. Find humor in the fact that you just had a screaming match with your roommate over whose final exam schedule is worse. You only do college once (hopefully) so enjoy the hell week and make the best of it!

5. Visualize the finish line.
When you’re done and have taken your last final, you’re free. No obligations. Done. No more (Unless you are taking an intersession course in which I am sorry). Go home. Lay on the couch. Cuddle your pets. Relax. This is what you have to look forward to for a whole month! You just have to make it through this week and then FREEDOM.

More fun facts to keep in mind:

-Chewing gum while studying and then taking the exam will improve concentration and help you remember material!
-Working out before or during study helps your brain retains the information easier and you can lose weight!
-Drink water and stay hydrated… When you do drink coffee, it can dehydrate you but water will give you more life!
-Be there for your fellow roommates and friends, they are going through it too. Stick together and support each other!
-Follow these quick tips and you’ll find finals week is a little less like hell and more like purgatory.
-Just stay positive and remember you are so close to vacation. Holidays are right around the corner! Hang in there my friends! We can do it! We will survive!