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How to Survive Finals Week 101

Posted by Lindsay Rothrock on Thursday, April 29, 2010

Being in the middle of my 6th finals week here at Vanderbilt, I thought I would impart some of the wisdom I have learned over the past three years about how to survive this stressful week. Each of my finals weeks have been very different; some have been full of tests, while others full of presentations and papers. Luckily, this year I have a mixture, making them all a little bit more bearable.

Read below to find out my tips for making it through…

1. Plan ahead

Before finals week even approaches, find out when all of your exams are, when your papers are due, and which days you have presentations. Write them down and space them out. Most of the exams have multiple test dates so you can choose the date that works best for you. Plan ahead when you are going to research for your papers and study for your tests. This will help with time-management when finals week rolls around and will ensure that you get in some quality library time.

2. Rotate your study spaces

There are so many classrooms, cubicles, desks, tables, and libraries for us to study in at Vanderbilt that you can study in a different place every day if you wanted to. In order to keep me from getting bored and distracted I like to switch up my study spaces. This year, I even ventured into buildings where I had never had classes before. I may have had to have one of my friends guide me, but today I found a new room with big chairs and a large table to spread out all of my papers.

3. If you can, study with friends

This is beneficial in many ways. During finals week, everyone is in the same boat: stressed out, ready to study, and with lots to do. When I study with friends, it is easy to stay motivated because when they are working I feel like I should be working also. But then, when I need a study break, I have someone to chat with and go get some more coffee or food with. Also, if you are in the same class as them it is nice to have someone to bounce ideas ooff of or ask questions of when you need more explanation.

4. Don’t forget to eat and sleep

Even though I have a 12 page paper due and an accounting test on Monday, I have to make sure that I am still taking care of myself. If I do not take care of myself first, then my work will suffer. Dinner with friends is always a good study break, and if I want to be sane while writing about the ethics of the marketing profession, then I must get some Zzzz’s every now and then.

5. Don’t get too stressed out

While you are at Vanderbilt, you will have 8 finals weeks, all with about 5 classes to finish up; that is a lot of assignments. Even though that one big 25 minute presentation you have tomorrow may seem like a huge deal at the time, it is just one of the many you are going to give at your time at Vanderbilt. I am not saying that you should not try your best, but do realize that you aren’t going to die if you don’t get an A+++ on it. Manage your time well and try to focus more on doing the best that you can do on each individual assignment while still being a happy person, instead of freaking out that you will fail life if you do bad on one test.

Now, following these rules will not make your finals week stress free, but hopefully it will make it a little more pleasant. And then after a week, or a week in a half if you stretch out your exams, you get to enjoy a wonderful summer!

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