The Finals Survival Guide

FI-NAL(fīnl): n. (plural: FINALS).

1. the last game in a sports tournament or other competition, which decides the winner of the tournament. 2. the last game in a competition, which decides the winner of the tournament. 3. The time of year where university students fervently pray for the Second Coming.  


Finals, where professors cram every bit of information learned over the past three months into one massive test. The end of the semester is near, and although each day brings us closer to Christmas, each day also brings us closer to finals week, school’s last parting gift. This guide will help to keep you sane during this time, so read on.


Chapter 1: Nutrition is Key

Nutrition. It’s one of the most essential parts of surviving finals week. However, it’s a tricky situation, because at this point, your body may have become tired of the cafeteria food and you physically cannot eat another Gazebo burrito. Or your cafe account may be running close to empty, leaving you wondering how you’re going to survive another week.

Be resourceful. The body and mind cannot function properly without adequate sustenance, and if those aren’t functioning properly you won’t survive finals. So, grab a friend who somehow has $1000 left on their account or get creative with your meals, switching up the basic tastes that you’ve become used to. You’ll need the food and energy to power yourself through the remainder of your Vocal Pedagogy final.


Chapter 2: Sleep is Necessary

    Sleep is incredibly underrated in terms of its effect on finals survival. Many people believe that the key to success involves pulling all-nighters to cram the last bits of information in before testing the next day; however, that is a foolish idea. Much like how a lack of food causes your mind to focus on food, preventing you from focusing on testing, lack of sleep causes your brain to become very lethargic. This slowing down of brain functioning can cause you to forget any information learned during cramming, as well as creating intense difficulty studying for the other tests scattered throughout the week.

So, do your best to sleep at least six to eight hours a night. This will help to solidify everything you’ve learned while studying. If that isn’t possible, sleep in multiples of 1.5 hours. This will coincide with your REM cycles, allowing you to feel more rested and still retain information.

Chapter 3: Study

    One of the most obvious factors in getting through finals week with your head held high is studying. However, studying means studying ahead and studying efficiently, not cramming. So start studying now and not on Sunday. Some effective study strategies include outlining and taking notes on readings, quizzing yourself, and using memory games and mnemonics.

    Make sure that when you study, you’re focused on studying and learning, or else the information won’t stick and precious time will be wasted.


Chapter 4: Strength in Numbers

    Like any other survival situation, having a group of close friends can help to keep up strength and morale. Trying to get through test week locked up and studying alone can be almost as detrimental as not sleeping or eating. So, take some time to study with friends, or with a strong study group. They can help to keep you focused and motivated. But, if you can’t study with other people, take some time to socialize between study sessions. The knowledge that other people are suffering with you is remarkably soothing.


Chapter 5: De-stress

Stress is the most double-sided aspect of Finals Week. On one hand, it can be an excellent motivator; however, it can also destroy you, causing panic and anxiety. Because of this, stress needs to be relieved occasionally. So, take time with your friends, hit the gym or go on a walk. Just do something that takes your mind off studies, at least for a little bit. Your brain and body need breaks, even if you don’t think they do, so make sure to take time to blow off some steam during this stressful week.

    This last week of the semester can bring out the best and the worst in people. There will be those who walk into and out of class with their heads held high, and there will be those sobbing in the corner. Some of the information presented here may seem obvious, but try consciously thinking about it and applying the tips- sometimes it’s the most obvious things that we end up taking for granted. Hopefully this Finals Survival Guide will help you to better navigate the dangers of finals week and emerge victorious. Best of luck.

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