Take a deep breath… count to 10… grab some coffee and open that textbook. It’s that time of the year. Your week will be full of deadlines, and the time that you have to meet those deadlines is rapidly decreasing. As a recent college graduate I know the struggles associated with Stress Week and of finals and here is a list of tips that I have used to help me become more successful during crunch time.
My first tip is to find a location to work that works for you. I always studied at the same place all year long, but as soon as I had big projects, or important studying to do, my ability to work at my regular desk was practically non-existent. I would find unique places to work on certain tasks. For example, I always worked on research papers in the library. The library has a way of settling you down so that you can get work done and it has all of the resources you might need available to you. Also, whenever I was creating my study materials I always went to the coffee shop. Coffee shops have a chill environment, and though they can be a tinge distracting, creating study lists or filling out review guides doesn’t take 100% concentration and the smell of freshly brewed coffee, is a welcome slight distraction and always helped me get work done.
The next tip I have is to understand what types of studying are best for your situation. For finals, I never studied 20 hours for a test or pulled all-nighters. I did the same thing for every test I had to study for. I got on Word, looked at all of my notes, condensed them into a list and memorized this list. This allowed me to save time by not looking over a notebook full of notes over and over again. I found the important material, and got that material mastered. Sometimes the list is half of a page, sometimes its 10 pages. Most of the time the list will condense into a page or maybe two pages. There are tons of resources online on study techniques. Find one that works for you, and studying for tests becomes much less stressful, and much more manageable.
Make a list or schedule of all the things you need to get done. You may have a list of 15 items you need to get done by the end of next week, but if you think about how much time you need to do these things, and you budget that time now, the week will be much more manageable. Once you start crossing things off your list, or putting checkmarks next to the items on your schedule you will get reassurance that you will get all of these tasks done. That reassurance will go a long way in your end of the semester journey.
My last tip is to find your support group. We all have those people who help us through difficult times, and for many people this is one of those difficult times. Maybe it’s a phone call with your best friend, or coffee with a classmate who is having the same struggles as you. But I have found that when the stress levels are high, and the work is piling up, that a 30 minute phone call with someone who cares about you, is one of the best stress relievers around and could help you get more work done in the long run.
This is your week, this is your time to shine. You have spent the past 3 months learning this material. You know that you understand it, now go out and show your professors that you have what it takes, and crush your finals.