How to Handle the Final Load
By Kathryn Knight
November 19, 2010
It’s like the professors and university are torturing you. December means holiday celebrations, a break from school and time at home with your family. But December also means two of the most grueling weeks at school. You can handle finals season though with these helpful tips:
Sleep. It may seem counterproductive to cramming, especially when all of your classmates are pulling all-nighters, but sleep is one of the best ways to prepare for finals. Experts say that getting at least seven hours of sleep will greatly enhance productivity and energy. The trick, however, is going to bed early to wake up early—try to be in bed by 10 p.m. with a 7 a.m. wake up time. That will give you nine hours and the opportunity to beat the mad dash to the campus library at 11 a.m.
Create a calendar. Before finals begin, create a calendar. Start by highlighting the dates of the actual finals or due dates for final papers. From there, work backwards and set goals for yourself. For example, if you have your 10-page final paper on Art History due on December 8th, make it your goal to have the rough draft compiled two days beforehand. Also commit to completing four pages a day, beginning on December 3rd.
On your calendar, build in some fun activities to do after your finals, like crafting gifts for your family and friends back home or going to a movie. Essentially, give yourself something to look forward to—a light at the end of the tunnel.
Stick to deadlines. Once you’ve made the goals on your finals calendar, stick to them. Schedule blocks of time on study days for each final. Devote three hours to writing those four pages of your art history paper. After, designate another two to studying for your Poli-Sci course. Don’t get too ambitious on your art history paper and eat up your Poli-Sci study block. Rather, stick to what you have blocked off, giving fair time to each course.
Reward yourself. It’s ok to give yourself study breaks. In fact, it’s highly recommend. Grab a coffee with friends or go for a run in the fitness center. Taking time from your studies will make you more productive when you return. The last thing you want to happen is to burn out on studying two days before the exams.