Study Tips for Finals Week

Girl working at desk on laptop

With exam week fast approaching, Clemson, and most other college students turn into stressed-out academics. Regular routines are lost, anxiety reigns supreme, and coffee consumption spikes. This semester, don’t stress out! Follow our study tips for finals week and you’ll feel calm and prepared for your exams.   

Understand Exam Format and Content

Do you know the format for each of your exams? For example, what types of questions will you be asked? What content and subjects will be covered on your finals? You can usually find this information on your course syllabus. If you’re unsure, contact your professor or teaching assistant. Maybe you missed the class with exam prep information—it’s okay! Don’t be shy and use office hours or contact your professor, they will likely be happy to help.

Prioritize Your Classes

Which class do you feel the least prepared for? Is there a final that requires a lot of memorization, re-learning concepts or essays? Obviously, by now, it’s crunch time and you only have a certain amount of days left to study before your exams. Prioritize the most important finals and divide up your study time based on where you need the most work. Study smarter, not harder!

Don’t Pull an All-Nighter

You.Need.Sleep. There’s no way around it. Sleep is more important than staying up to cram before your final exams. Dr. Lawrence Epstein, explains to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine how lack of sleep leading up to finals is more detrimental than you think. “After two weeks of sleeping six hours or less a night, students feel as bad and perform as poorly as someone who has gone without sleep for 48 hours.”

You’ll also perform poorly on tests if you’re tired. “New research highlights the importance of sleep in learning and memory,” says Dr. Epstein. “Students getting adequate amounts of sleep performed better on memory and motor tasks than did students deprived of sleep.”

Take Short Breaks

The Pomodoro method—working in concentrated bursts, followed by a short break—is often said to increase productivity in the workplace. Use this strategy while you study. Instead of trying to spend hours reading, studying or memorizing, work hard and take a break.

A recent study from Desktime showed that the most productive people work for 52 minutes then take a 17-minute break. However, those 52 minutes need to be a sprint, where you work off a to-do list, accomplish items and focus on the task at hand, with no distractions. Then completely unplug for your break. Take yourself out of the library, take a walk or do something other than work. If you find it’s hard to get back into the study mindset after 17 minutes, try shorter breaks. Find what works best for you. Use your phone to set a timer to remind you.    

Don’t Forget About Your Health and Wellbeing  

When you’re stressed your immune system is weakened, which means you’re more susceptible to sickness. Having a cold will not help you when it comes time to take your final. Remember to take extra care of yourself while studying. You’ll likely be around more students, at the library, practice sessions or study groups (i.e., more germs). Here are a few ways to keep healthy:

  • Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands.
  • Keep a regular, healthy, and balanced diet—no binge-eating pizza while studying.
  • Keep hydrated, drink plenty of water and other fluids. Bring a reusable water bottle to your study sessions.
  • Use exercise as a stress reliever!

Block Out Noise to Concentrate

Maybe you like to study in the library or a group setting, but you still need peace and quiet to concentrate and absorb information. Don’t underestimate the power of a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. Blocking out ambient noise can significantly help with concentration. If you can’t listen to music with words while studying (many can’t), check out Spotify’s concentration playlists.  

Better Yourself For Next Semester

Once finals are done, don’t go straight into vaca mode. Take a beat to remember how you felt. Did you feel unprepared going into exam week? Overwhelmed with the amount of material you needed to study or cover? Use this as fuel to optimize your study and workflow next semester. Consider setting reminders in your phone, or even sending yourself an email while it’s fresh in your mind. Use this semester as a learning experience and become a better student for your next set of classes.

Use These Study Tips for Finals Week and EPOCH’s Treats to Get Through

Remember that Epoch has you covered! We’ll have free snacks, meals and treats all exam week, so make sure to stop by our leasing office. Keep an eye on our social media for updates!

Good luck with finals, Tigers!