Hot take: Surviving finals week

Courtesy of Matt Reynolds/JSU

Whitney Ervin, Features Editor

The time is upon us again. Another semester comes to a close, and finals week is here. All the work you’ve put into this semester is coming to a grand conclusion. It’s a hectic time to be a college student. Between making plans for the upcoming holidays and preparing for final exams, it can feel overwhelming. To make things a little easier for you, here are some tips to help you survive finals week.

  1. Fight the urge to cram. 

This seems like it would be a no-brainer. Finals are a big deal, and you want to do your best. It’s alarmingly easy to fall into old traps like procrastinating studying and then attempting to cram the night before your big test. 

According to a study by, students who crammed all their studying into the night before a test only passed their exams with an average score. Often the information you take while cram studying doesn’t stick with you very long or will even leave you during the exam. For the best level of retention, it’s best to spread your study time out throughout the week leading up to your exam. It is recommended by the University of Florida’s Robert Hatch to spend 2-3 a day hours studying. 

  1. Take care of yourself mentally and physically. 

Putting your mind and body under more stress will negatively impact your performance. If you’re sleep deprived it’ll be more difficult to retain all that studying you’re taking in. At a time when it feels like everything is on the line, it’s important to make sure you’re in peak condition. 

  1. Find a good study group (and actually study.) 

It’s something we’ve all heard many times in our college careers: repetition is key. Meeting with a study group will help you learn the information in new ways. Going through the information with a study group gives you the opportunity to get a new perspective on concepts you might be struggling with and it also breaks up the cycle of taking notes then reading notes. Talking things out certainly has its benefits. We tend to remember conversations we engage in. Helping other people understand the concepts at hand will help you refine your own knowledge as well. 

While study groups are also a good way to make friends, make sure you avoid wasting too much study time with social conversations. 

  1. Have a study playlist. 

Music is key to the lives of many people. Studies have found that playing music during lectures and study time heightens test scores. Music stimulates your mind and heightens your reception to information. According to Duke Cancer Institute music boosts retention because it helps reduce anxiety. Anything that helps reduce the anxiety felt during finals week is a helpful tool to use. 

  1. Avoid distractions in your study space. 

It is recommended that you have a space dedicated to your studies, and while you’re there you should limit distractions. It’s difficult to focus on studying if you’re just itching to open your latest Snapchat notification and then the next thing you know you’ve ended up down a rabbit hole of Tik Tok conspiracy theories. 

However, your cell phone isn’t the only thing that can be distracting. If you don’t live alone, make sure your cohabitants know when you’re studying so they don’t offer unneeded distractions.

These are just a few ways to help you prepare for your final exams. There’s a multitude of ways to get yourself ready. Everyone has their own way of learning. Just take a deep breath, drink some water, and make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

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