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Finals Week Survival Guide

These tips and tricks can help you survive finals week and ace your exams.

A Mississippi State student studies for finals week in Old Main Academic Center

As the semester's end draws closer, finals week is rapidly approaching. The thought of finals week can sometimes fill students with dread as they think of exams, presentations, all-nighters, and stress.

But it doesn't have to be this way! Consider these tips as your finals week survival guide; with this knowledge in your back pocket, you're well on your way to a smooth and successful finals week.

  1. Create a study plan
  2. Before finals week arrives, your first step is creating a study plan. You can also think of this as your "study schedule," an outline of what days you will study which subjects so that you can be thoroughly prepared by exam day.

    Start by writing down all important dates in a calendar or planner, like dates and times for final exams or due dates for final projects or papers. Be sure to verify your final exam times with your course syllabus. Then start to prioritize these deadlines based on how soon each deadline is, how much work you expect you will need to devote to each one, or which grades are most important.

    With this information in mind, you can set aside days and times you will devote to each course. For instance, if a very important class has a dedicated project you need to prepare, you could set aside an hour per day, starting two or three weeks in advance. For a class with a less difficult exam, you might set aside one or two three-hour blocks to study the week before. With your study schedule written down, you are ready to manage your time responsibly and enter finals week confidently.

  3. Gather your tools
  4. To successfully prepare for finals week, you'll likely find it helpful to have certain tools ready to go. A laptop with a strong internet connection, textbooks, flashcards, pens and pencils, class notes, and highlighters are just a few items you should have. Many apps and websites can help you study and learn key terms, like Quizlet, My Study Life, or your university library's website.

    You may also find it helpful to create a special study area set aside just for finals preparation in your home or office. A clean, quiet environment can help you focus and think clearly.

  5. Try different study tactics
  6. Practicing various study tactics can help you better learn and retain information while keeping the study process interesting. For example, you could create flashcards of key terms, write your own study guide, or take practice quizzes. You could also re-read your class notes, watch videos of key concepts, or try teaching somebody else the material.

    Make sure that throughout the study process, you utilize your class resources, like textbooks, recorded lectures, class notes, or supplemental materials provided by your instructor. You can even visit your professor's virtual office hours to discuss concepts you are struggling with.

  7. Practice healthy habits
  8. Caring for your physical and mental health throughout finals preparation is key to ensuring you are in the best shape when exam week arrives. Despite the busyness of this season, getting enough sleep, moving your body regularly, and eating healthy foods are still really important. Using the study schedule you created initially, you can plan your time to include regular breaks and space for maintaining healthy habits.

  9. Remember the end goal
  10. Although preparation for finals is sometimes overwhelming, it can be helpful to remember your ultimate goal: to earn your degree. Whether you are seeking a degree to advance in your career, improve your skills, pursue your passion, or something else, keeping that goal always in mind can give you motivation and encouragement.

    When exam season ends, celebrate all the hard work you put into the semester. You are one step closer to achieving your goals!

Are you interested in learning more about how an online degree can help you reach your goals? We offer 60+ degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels so that you can pursue what matters most to you. Check out our website to learn more about our degree programs and how to apply.