Ten tips for making the most of finals week

It is time again for finals at the Troy Campus. Senior Bayleigh Thompson shares ten tips for success during finals week.

It is time again for finals at the Troy Campus. Senior Bayleigh Thompson shares ten tips for success during finals week.

Coming from a girl who cares about grades like I care about TROY being ranked (Go Trojans), finals week cannot be taken lightly. We’ve made it through the semester and we can smell the pine needles now; it’s time for Christmas break, right? Wrong. Like any Troy Trojan should do, we’re powering through finals week. So how do we fight the lack of motivation? Here’s ten tips to get you through finals week and make it your best yet!

1.      One word – sleep.

Some people may tell you six hours of sleep is a great amount, but striving for eight hours is ideal. The more sleep you get, the more refreshed you’ll feel. You’ll need the energy and focus, and information will be easier to remember when your head doesn’t feel foggy from lack of sleep. While it may be tempting to pull that all-nighter, try to get ahead of the game by studying the day before, getting a great night’s sleep, and waking up ready for the test.

2.      Eat well and exercise.

Besides maintaining a regular exercise schedule and healthy diet, you should really pay close attention to this during finals week. Have you ever noticed how grumpy you can get during a long study session? Taking just thirty minutes to an hour a day to run, walk around campus, or play a sport, will boost your mood. See, exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel happier. Eating well will make you feel lighter and will actually give you some energy, if you eat the right amount of vegetables, carbs, and protein. Taking care of your body may not seem directly related to studying, but it will help you sleep better, remain focused, and keep you in better spirits.

Students studying together.
Students studying together.

3.      Find a study buddy.

Have you ever heard the saying “misery loves company”? While finals not be that bad, it’s nice to have a friend or classmate who can relate to the struggle. It may take a little longer to study, but you can use two-person study exercises to get the job done. Try explaining the concepts to the other person to tell if you truly understand it, quizzing each other on definitions or formulas, or simply sharing ideas on how to study. It makes the burden of studying a little less lonely and a lot more fun.

4.      Take breaks.

While the test is soon, cramming for hours on end can really burn you out. Sometimes the more you stare at the material, the harder it becomes to retain. Whether you feel like you need an hour, or just five minutes, taking some time to just breathe and look up from your textbook is important. Take a walk around campus, go run an errand, grab a coffee, or just take a quick look at social media. Taking a break will have you returning to your books feeling refreshed.

5.      Talk to your professor.

Believe it or not, your professor wants you to succeed in the class! If you ask the right questions and show that you truly care about your grade, your teacher might be happy to share with you some tips on how to study for his or her particular exam. Find out if your professor could recommend any practices or study guides, tutors, or specific concepts to know that may prepare you better. It never hurts to ask!

6.      Don’t study in bed.

Did you know that certain places that you frequently go can cause your body to go into autopilot? Experts suggest studying in an area with little to no distractions, as well as a place where you don’t typically rest. Your body tunes itself to go to sleep when you sit in your bed, so while it may be a comfortable place to flip flashcards, your brain will begin to draw itself towards sleep rather than focus. Some of the best places to study are libraries, an empty classroom, or even outdoors. Find what works best for you!

7.      Review old tests.

This may seem like an obvious tip, but many people forget that old tests can sometimes have questions that will be featured on the final. Looking at old tests, if you still have them, will familiarize you with the test format, remind you of old concepts you may have forgotten about, and even give you some answers you need without having to look too hard.

8.      Plug in some music.

If you’re studying somewhere like a coffee shop, music can tune out the rest of the world while you’re trying to focus. Many recommend classical music because it puts you in a better emotional state, which makes you more receptive to information. It is also proven that this type of music lowers blood pressure, which can help test anxiety and insomnia. Finally, classical music won’t demand your attention with catchy rhymes, so while there’s music playing, you won’t lose focus on the information in front of you.

9.      Treat yo self.

When doing anything productive, rewarding yourself in moderation is a healthy way to boost motivation! Set a goal on how much to study or however long you’d like to study for and promise yourself a reward at the end. This will give you a light at the end of the tunnel and push you to focus for the allotted amount of time. Some people may opt for food as their reward or a fun event on campus; my personal preference is watching an episode on Netflix (you know you do it, too). Whatever you choose, this is a surefire way to talk yourself into the next hour of studying.

10.  Don’t stress.

Last, but certainly not least, don’t sweat it! Of course, finals are pretty darn important, but don’t worry so much that you feel overwhelmed. This can cause you to actually think more about what’s to happen if you fail and not about what you should be studying. The test is coming either way, so use the tips above, get ready, and trust yourself! You’re going to do great.

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