Self Help-Conquering Finals

Conquering Finals

How is this week different?

  1. No classes — this will change your schedule.
  2. Routine is changed.
  3. Friends leaving — may want to see them for the "last time."
  4. Other____________________________________

Schedule for Finals

  1. Prepare a general schedule. As much as possible, stick to your regular schedule.


    • Avoid late hours. Try not to stay up all night.
    • Calmly review your material and then get a good night's sleep.
    • Refrain from excessive use of caffeine.
    • Maintain a healthy diet and get some exercise.
  2. Utilize the hours when you are most efficient.
  3. Schedule study breaks for yourself. Try not to set unrealistic goals (e.g. "I will study for two hours and take a 10 minute break" instead of "I will study for six hours and not take any breaks").
  4. If possible, try not to study for two similar courses consecutively. Break up similar courses with a different course (e.g. biology, english, chemistry).
  5. Try to remain detached from the "panic mania" around you. Being around panicky and nervous people will only enhance your own sense of anxiety.
  6. Know when and where your exam will be given.
  7. Relax for the half-hour before the test.
  8. Take a break between your exams, when your schedule permits. Try to unwind a bit.

Organizing Your Study Time

  1. Write the dates and times of all your final exam on a calendar.
  2. Go thorough each course and make a "TO DO" list of study preparations.
    1. Ask yourself:
      • What will my final cover? (cumulative v. specific chapters)
      • What percent of my final grade is based on the final exam?
      • What priority is this course, relative to other courses I am taking?
      • How am I already doing in this course?
      • Have I finished all of the reading and/or assignments?
      • Do I have all of my lecture notes? Are they organized?
      • How much time will it take to cover this material?
    2. Start breaking up material, which will be covered on the final, into smaller sections.
      • Determine how much time it will take to review the material. (Be sure to include time to review/condense text and notes.
      • If there is too much material to cover well, try to determine what will be the most important material and concentrate on these areas.
  3. Plot study periods from now until the final for each class.
    1. To prevent burnout, optimal study periods include 50-60 minutes of study time with 10 minute breaks between where you can review and self-test.
    2. Allow longer study periods for grasping larger concepts and forming relationships among facts and concepts.
    3. Pick a place to study that is comfortable and has minimal distractions (i.e. well lit, quiet, warm, etc.).
    4. Be aware of your biological clock and use this information to determine your optimal study times.
    5. Take breaks after putting in study time.
    6. Try no to disrupt your normal routines; allow time for a balance of your normal activities (i.e. exercise, sleep, eating, social).

My Plan for Finishing the Semester

  1. Make a "To Do" list of all the things you have to do between now and the end of the semester. The list should include academic work like papers, projects, finals, social obligations, and any moving tasks.
  2. Assign a priority to each item according to importance.
  3. Write the date each item is due and transfer that date to your personal calendar.
  4. Make a plan for accomplishing each item and set up a time schedule for accomplishing the plan.
Priority Ranking To Do Date Due

Additional Hints

  • Prepare for exams in advance. Don't wait until it is final exam week to start "cramming" in all sorts of new information. Ideally, finals are a time to review previously learned material, not a time to learn new material.
  • Learn how to manage your time more effectively.
  • Learn how to read texts, take notes, and take tests.
  • Learn how to manage your anxiety.