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How to study, prepare for finals week

The week we all dread is finally upon us. Students spend all semester working hard and counting the weeks until the semester ends. Then when it’s the end of the semester and it’s the week of final exams, we all freak out about not being prepared for finals. Here are some tips and tricks about how to prepare for final exams and how to keep your cool during this stressful period of the semester.

Don’t cram! Just study.

Cramming is completely ineffective; studies show that your brain can only take in so much information in a period of time. When you’re cramming, you are flooding your brain with too much information, causing an overload. The results can be devastating to your test-taking skills. Students who cram right before finals tend to forget much of what they studied. They freeze on questions that they weren’t sure were going to be on the test. Students don’t get enough sleep when they stay awake cramming for hours before a final. Instead, spend the week studying in increments.


Get as much sleep as possible between study times. Take a short nap when you need a break away from the books and the laptop. Sleeping restores and rests your brain. When you wake up, drink a cup of coffee and get back to studying. Your mind will be refreshed and ready to hit the books again. If you’re yawning through your studying, your mind is too focused on getting the sleep it needs to consume the information effectively. Be sure to get a full night’s sleep, eight hours if possible, before the day of the final. Being well-rested will help your mind operate and keep your nerves down during test time.


Don’t be too busy studying that you forget to eat. Your body needs nutrients to focus and depriving it of nutrients will not help you during exams. Your mind operates better when you have a healthy meal in you. It’s much easier to focus on an exam when your stomach isn’t growling. Eat healthy, also. Don’t have a fatty, greasy burger left over from last night’s study session. Eat something with fiber and plenty of vitamins.

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Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and take your mind off finals. Not to mention, exercise helps to get the endorphins flowing in your body, making you more awake and happier. If you’re happier, you’ll be more inclined to focus and study.


Anxiety gets you nowhere. Being nervous and overly anxious about finals will result in poor testing. Relax before you go into testing. Meditation is one way. Taking several deep breaths is another. Talking to a counselor about the nerve issues you are having before going into finals week can also help relieve some of the stress. Even venting to a friend will help you from carrying the burden all alone.

Plan for the end.

Only making plans leading up to finals and preparing for them is stressful. I encourage students to make some plans for what you are going to do after finals’ week. Plan a vacation with friends and get away for a few days to keep your mind from constantly wondering to, “What are my final grades?” If you can’t escape for a vacation, then plan something locally. A day at the beach is a great way to unwind after the semester, or a bar-hopping night (with a designated driver), a nice meal at an upscale restaurant you wouldn’t normally go to or maybe a movie night. There are several things that you can plan for the end of the semester so that you have something to look forward to instead of something to dread.
Everybody have a great week of final exams. Take heed to these tips and tricks; they will help you get through. Enjoy the summer. Congratulations on another semester completed. See you next year, Eagles!

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