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College Finals Survival Guide

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Posted on December 5, 2014 by Delaware Valley College.

Final exams usually count for a large portion of your final grade in your classes, so it’s important to prepare for them as best as you can. It’s easy to let finals week creep up on you, but the truth is, you can start preparing long before your exams begin. Consider these tips while you’re getting ready for the end of the semester so you can make the most of your study sessions and ace your tests.

Plan
Give yourself plenty of time to review the material that will be covered on your exams and schedule your study time for the week. Find a planner or make one so you can schedule your time. For example, Monday: Study English from noon to 1 p.m. Study history from 2 to 4 p.m.

You should also plan activities other than studying. Write down when you’ll take breaks, eat meals, exercise, hang out with friends and sleep. After finals, most college students travel home for break, so allot time to do laundry, pack and get ready for break so you’re not overwhelmed when it’s time to leave.

Take Care of Yourself
While it may be tempting to stay up all night to study, your body needs sleep to be healthy and perform at its best. The last thing you want is to get sick during finals week, and you’re more susceptible to developing a cold when you’re sleep deprived. 

Also remember to practice daily hygiene. Even though you may let these things fall by the wayside because you’re busy prepping and studying, you’ll feel better and sharper after taking a shower and putting on clean clothes. 

Diet
This goes along with taking care of yourself: Eat right and be sure to hydrate. While you’re busy cramming your brain with knowledge and memorizing definitions and equations, it’s important to refuel. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables reduces toxins in your bloodstream and improves your memory. Consuming oily fish such as salmon also can help increase brain function so your memory will be sharp when you’re taking your tests. And even though water may take a backseat to energy drinks at times like these, it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid sugary drinks. 

Study Groups
While studying by yourself is crucial, study groups with classmates also can be effective in helping you go over information that will be covered on your exams. Gather your peers from class in the library or an empty classroom and go over definitions and problems and conduct a mock class. It can also be beneficial to take turns being the professor and instructing the class on certain lectures and formulas.

Switch It Up
When you’ve spent a lot of time on one particular subject and you’re growing tired or bored of the material, move on to the next topic. This will keep you from burning out, and you’ll be able to focus better on something else.

Also remember to take breaks. A 20-minute walk around campus, 30 minutes of exercise, or an hour for lunch will help give your eyes a break from the books or computer screen and give your brain a rest as well. This will help you clear your mind and focus better when you get back to studying. 

As you prepare for your final exams, try not to stress too much about them. Stress will only hinder your performance, so make sure you take breaks when necessary, give yourself enough time to study, get enough sleep and eat right. If you stay focused and keep distractions at bay, you’ll be sure to score high on your exams so you can relax over winter break. Who knows, maybe mom and dad will send a care package!