Planning for Finals

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Finals are looming around the corner, which can be a stressor for many students eager to finish the semester on a good note. Between studying for that exam, writing that ten-page paper your professor insists is not even that long, or working on that creative project with too much ambitious energy and not enough time to work on it, finals can be a rough couple of weeks. But maybe they don’t have to be!

Every year when finals come around, I have a few tricks that I use to reap the rewards of my success without a boatload of stress. I watch many of my peers lose too much sleep over their studies and I’d love to pass on my tips to help make the last few weeks more efficient and enjoyable.

The first step is to make a plan. Check your final times, put them on the calendar, and see how much time you have until then to prepare. I like to do this a few weeks out so that I know what I’m getting into. If your final is an exam or paper to be written the week of finals, you may not need to start studying at this point in time, whereas if your final is a creative project or presentation, you may need more time to create those works. 

Know what time periods work best for you. If you know you can write a paper in three days, great! If you may need more time than that, that’s okay too. Play to your strengths and create a balanced plan. Try not to plan everything all at once; space things out. Maybe one week you write a paper, the next you work on a project, and the week before finals you study for in-class exams.

The next step is to give yourself more time than you need. Allow for your plans to change. Even though finals are coming up, you want to be able to stay on top of your current schoolwork, jobs, social life, etc. Plans change all the time and it’s good to allow room for flexibility in your plan. It’s also perfectly fine to move things around, as long as you stick to the time periods you’ve set for yourself. These will give you structure, and most often people are stressed by the work they have to do because there is no plan involved.

The last step is to plan for breaks and mindfulness. If you give yourself time to relax as well as study, you may feel that you have a better balance and more control of your feelings and emotions. Being sound in these areas of relaxation and awareness will also give you a better feeling of peace and control over these hectic weeks as the semester comes to a close.

However you plan to prepare for finals, take some time to check in with yourself, and make it a fun, stress-free end to the semester!