Top 10 Tips to Survive Finals

Bella Enfield '19, Staff Writer

It’s that time of year. Spring has started (finally) and summer is just around the corner. That also means that everyone is preparing for finals. It may seem like a daunting task to take large tests for all your classes, but if you study wisely, it doesn’t have to be as stressful. Without further ado, here are ten tips to survive finals season.


  1. Manage your time. If you have three tests on the first day, don’t study for a test that you have on the last day. If you have sports or club meetings after school, take advantage of study halls or lunch periods to get some extra homework time. Complete assignments that are do the next day first so you have some time to study for finals or work on projects and papers.


  1. Reward yourself. You studied? Congratulations! Have a cookie or an extra piece of candy! If you reward yourself after completing hard tasks and goals, then you have motivation to keep getting things done. Positive reinforcement will help you continue to do work even after you feel drained or too tired to keep going.


  1. Don’t put off assignments until the night before the deadline. Finding quotes for an in-class or finishing the third division of your research paper at midnight the night before is the best recipe for stress. You more than likely have the deadline for your assignment at least a week before it’s due. Take that week and complete a little chunk of work each night so by the time it’s due, you have most of it done and won’t have to stay awake into the early hours of the morning.


  1. Find a good instrumental music playlist. If music is your thing, than studying while you listen to it can help block out background noise and concentrate on the task at hand. However, songs with words tend to be distracting and make you want to focus on the lyrics instead of what you’re working on. So find something instrumental to listen to. Whether that be pop songs covered on piano or some classic Yo-Yo Ma cello, instrumental music fosters a focusing environment.


  1. Stay hydrated. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you to drink water, but I’m going to anyway: drink water! Living solely on coffee won’t help your body function any more than it will help your mind. Nobody wants to deal with a caffeine headache while trying to study for a calc final. Try to avoid caffeine as much as you can and stick to things like water, milk, or fruit juice, which is something sweet, but still better than coffee or a Redbull or even a Pepsi.


  1. Get a good night’s rest the night before tests. I’m sure you’ve heard this one too, but getting the right amount of sleep is crucial to how well you’ll be able to focus. Running on two hours of sleep and then having to take a test in a quiet room only creates the perfect opportunity to fall asleep mid-exam. Sleep for at least five hours the night before a test. Ideally, you should sleep for eight hours if you have the chance to, but going to bed a midnight is better than going to bed at three a.m.


  1. Take breaks. If you’ve been studying for three plus hours, it’s time to stand up and stretch. Watch ten minutes of an episode of your favorite TV show or read a chapter of your book. Paint your nails or take a shower. Take your dog for a walk or get a snack. If you sit and try to force yourself to study for extended periods of time, you won’t absorb anything and you’ll go stir crazy. Make sure to split up studying so that you make the most of it.


  1. Cramming helps nobody. Imagine this: you haven’t seen the term your trying to define since January and you just can’t remember what it means. You panic and feel even more stressed. Here’s an easy way to avoid this situation: don’t save studying for a difficult test for the day before. If you have a study guide or a terms list two weeks before the exam, take the time to at least start it when you have some free moments or on weekends in between events. Waiting until the last minute only puts stress on you and others who witness your stressing.


  1. Eat breakfast the morning of tests or at least drink a glass of water. If you can’t eat early in the morning without feeling sick, drink a glass of milk or water to clear your head and get a start on the day. If you can stomach some food, eat fruits or eggs, things that have protein and will keep you full so you don’t have to snack on junk food later. Eating a bagel or some granola before a test will keep your mind of your stomach and on the equations you have to solve.
  2. Breathe. I know this is a stressful week, but you have to remember that a failed final doesn’t affect your future in the big ways you think it will. When it comes down to it, it’s only 20% of your second semester grade and 10% of your final grade for the year. When things feel a little too stressful, take a moment and breathe. Exhale through your mouth and make a “woosh” sound. Then close your mouth and breathe in for four seconds through your nose. Hold the breath for seven seconds. Finally, exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat this as many times as it takes for you to calm down and get back to being amazing.