Frantic about finals?

Students study at the Daley Library

They’re herrreeeeeee! Well, not quite, but almost. What am I talking about? FINALS. With just a couple weeks of clases left, it’s time to start thinking about the dreaded exams, papers, and presentations. Have you been getting ready, or are you putting off even thinking about the last few classes of the semester? Whether you’re ready or not, it’s almost time, and I want to make sure you’re ready, or at least as ready as you can ever be.

Here are some tips to whip yourself in shape in the remaining weeks.

  • ● Review/rewrite/reorganize your notes. Will your exam be cumulative? Will you need to mention old(er) topics in your presentation? If so, look back at those notes from September. A lot of people find it beneficial to rewrite their notes- a strategy that aids in memorizing and retaining information and is also a good de-clutterer; if your notes are sloppy, this allows you to make them neater and easier to study. Consider this: you may want to have these notes for the following semesters, too, so rewriting and organizing them won’t just be beneficial for finals time, but for the future.
  • Declutter/throw things away. I don’t know about you, but I can’t study or do homework in a messy space. I’m not sure if it bothers me, or if it’s just that I’ll find a million other things to do before I can make myself sit down and do work. If you do this, you’ll have a better work environment and your mind will feel decluttered, too. That way you may even be inclined to let study buddies in!
  • Grab those pencils, erasers, and working pens! As an English major, I have almost no use for a pencil in my backpack. But when final exams roll around, I know I better grab a few along with an eraser. You don’t want to be unprepared when the tests are being passed out — that will just lead to unnecessary panic. A few days before (or now!), replenish your pencil case and consider what you would need to have for days upon days of exams. A functioning pen? Gum? White out?
  • Open your book… I’ve always known people who fail to open the book for the class until the night before the final exam. Don’t be one of those people! If you haven’t done so by now, open your book! Start learning. It isn’t too late yet. Staying on track throughout the semester is obviously the best choice, but if you’re at the point now that you need to catch up, do it while you can.
  • Drink lots of water/eat well! This is not the time to come down with a cold, or worse — the flu. Make sure you are frequently washing your hands, drinking plenty of water, and eating fairly well. If you run your body down studying and working hard on schoolwork, you have an increased risk of getting sick, which makes it near impossible to function during finals week. Take it from the girl who got stomach flu the Monday night of finals week last year…
  • SLEEP! This ties in very much with the last suggestion. While sleep will help keep you from getting sick, it will also help you do better on your exam on its own. So many people pull all-nighters or don’t sleep for more than a few hours every night. Don’t do this; studies have proven that this severe lack of sleep is detrimental and that the information you attempt to retain when your body is exhausted is almost never remembered.
  • Make to-do lists. Seriously. I know I talk about things like this all the time but you really should do it. This way, you won’t forget about a single exam, presentation, or project due date. There is a lot going on at this time of year and it is easy to get caught up on one assignment and completely blank about the other one that is due the same day. This to-do list is especially nice because it is a visualization of what stands between you and winter break!!!!!
  • Accomplish something every day-don’t want until the last minute. Use that handy dandy to-do list and try to accomplish something every day. Work for an hour on that research paper. Start studying for a little bit every day. This way you aren’t doing everything hours before it’s due, and you’ll do better on the exam. Even the largest of assignments seem manageable when you split them up over the course of a few days/weeks.

Take my advice and give these last few weeks everything you’ve got. Soon you’ll be relaxing on the couch watching old seasons of “Gossip Girl” and eating Cheetos. Or at least I will. But either way, break is just around the corner, and how successful you are now will determine how satisfied you are with yourself when final grades come out. Make yourself proud.


Holly Brenza (F)


Holly Brenza is a senior majoring in English and minoring in communications and management. In her spare time, Holly enjoys playing with her puppy, Bear, and watching the Blackhawks and White Sox, reading and trying out new recipes. After graduation, she hopes to work in public relations.


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