Finals Week Survival Guide

UW-River Falls
4 min readDec 10, 2015

You can make it.

Time is running out, deadlines are approaching and coffee is the only thing keeping you going. The darkness of all-nighters haunts you through out the day — making it almost impossible to find your way to class. Emails, papers, books and articles surround you from all sides. Welcome, my friend, to Finals Week.

Remember, you can make it and you will. But to help you live to see another semester, we’ve developed this handy little survival guide just for you.

Study tips

  • Teach it. It is proven that when you teach someone something you are more likely to remember it. No wonder professors are so smart! So grab a friend and give them a little lesson in chemistry, animal science, music, or whatever test it is you’ve got to ace.
  • Move it. Pack up your backpack because a change in scenery could lead to a change in your test score. Scientists say that when we study the same material in different places, it forces our brain to form new associations with it, resulting in a stronger memory. Here’s your excuse to go try a new coffee shop or search for the perfect spot on campus.
  • Write it. With a pencil and paper. Because when you write things down, you use more senses — increasing the links you create in your mind to that topic. Flashcards are great because after you write them, you can use them to study with afterwards. It might take longer, but a better grade is worth 1,000 words. Right?
  • Read it. Out loud! It helps the facts stick in our brains. Doing this, we see and hear the words. Double the power! DISCLAIMER: I am not saying to read your entire history textbook to your roommate before bed. That won’t help anything. Instead, make sure you actually understand what you are reading and make connections to the key concepts.

Stress tips

  • Give me a break (but not of that Kit Kat bar). Focusing on something all day (or all night) can do more harm than good. Take occasional 20–30 minute breaks and relax. Eating foods like nuts, apples, berries, whole grains and dark chocolate can help your brain function better, remember more and boost energy. Avoid eating too much sugary food which could lead to a crash later.
  • Keep moving. No need to run a marathon, I promise. A brisk walk around campus or a ten minute yoga stretch in your room can clear your head and keep you calm. It might just be exactly what your mind and body needs.
  • Sleep tight. Yes, even college students need 8–9 hours of sleep a night. When you sleep well before an exam, your brain has better concentration and memory recall. All-nighters actually lessen your brain’s ability to focus. Try studying between 6-8 p.m. That is your brains optimal functioning time; but after that, please try to catch some z’s.
  • Just say no. Sometimes you have to do what is best for you. And if that’s saying no to attending your great aunts 47th birthday party to finish a final project, then do it. It’s okay to say no — you can only handle so much.

Helpful Free Apps

  • Quizlet. You’ve most likely heard of Quizlet before. But if not, you can use it to create flashcards, play games and take tests to help you study. It is also helpful because you can use flashcards that other students have already made. You’ll have an unlimited number of flashcards right in your back pocket!
  • Paper. List-makers unite! This app is great if you want to keep track of all your assignments, due dates, grocery lists and genius ideas. Not only can create multiple lists, but you can also make drawings and upload pictures.
  • Sworkit. Only have 5 or 10 minutes to exercise? Sworkit lets you decide how much time you have to workout and what part of the body you want to focus on. Most of the workouts don’t require equipment, so they are dorm and apartment friendly.

Stay focused, Falcons and may the odds be ever in your favor.

UW-River Falls

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