We all know what’s coming up—we’ve been dreading it for weeks, maybe even since school started. That’s right, it’s finals season!!! Although Dead Week may have been too accurate of a moniker to be funny anymore, resulting in the renamed Study Week, it’s still a full week dedicated to taking advantage of studying and preparation opportunities. Minimal sports practices and no new material (hopefully) provide plenty of study time. These weeks can be overwhelming for many, myself included, and there are certain aspects I struggle with, such as balancing other commitments, managing my time and staying on task. However, there are ways to power through the stressful final weeks.
Procrastination: Leaving things to the last minute is never a good idea, and accomplishing something you’ve been putting off is a satisfying feeling. To this end, time management is your best friend!
~ Make a list of the tasks you need to have done and by when. Prioritize them based on difficulty level and the subjects you should focus on. Giving yourself a time restraint can also provide motivation to be efficient, but don’t let it stress you out. Check tasks off when you’re done to mark your progress and encourage yourself!
~ Get off your phone! According to a study by University of Texas, productivity and cognitive capacity is reduced when your phone is anywhere near you. Yes, even if it’s off. Power it off and physically remove it as a distraction by putting it in another room. When you’ve finished a task, reward yourself with five minutes of phone time—but set a timer to ensure you don’t get lost scrolling through Instagram.
Bored of material: It’s never exciting to go over an entire semester’s worth of material you’ve already studied for. Reviewing math equations for the twentieth time is nothing but dull, and even puts me to sleep once in a while. So spice it up!
~ Khan Academy videos might just save you. With in-depth lessons, varied examples and opportunities to practice skills, they will help you review material in a new way and most likely provide some insight you’ve been lacking.
~ Break old habits. If how you’ve been studying has you falling asleep, it’s time to change something. Studying with friends in person or over FaceTime and verbally reviewing topics helps your brain absorb the material better, according to a study done by Brighton College. Even reading your notes aloud to yourself can increase retention and help you process information.
Anxious/not sleeping: Stress is hard to deal with, and these final weeks come with a boatload. It’s important to take care of mental health and not neglect yourself when you’re focusing on academic pressures.
~ Eat good food! A study by the Journal of School Health established a connection between students with a diet high in fruit, vegetables, protein and fiber and higher scores on literacy tests. Avoid food high in salt and saturated fat to ace those essays! It’s okay to treat yourself to a pick-me-up occasionally while studying, but don’t make it a habit. Filling meals will keep you energized throughout the day and hunger won’t be a distraction. See the finals recipe guide for some tasty treats!
~ Chill out. Your brain is working crazy overtime right now and you don’t want it to burn out, so give it some rest. Meditation apps can give some structured relief, or simply sitting down and taking deep breaths can work wonders. Some of the best apps I’ve used are Aura, Headspace and Whil (which is free for Redwood students!). Reminders for a daily moment of peace won’t let you overlook this simple method of calming down.
~ Get some decent sleep. While it may fall low on your list of priorities, sleep is a key component to succeeding in these coming weeks. A full night’s worth of sleep allows for optimal studying, according to a study by Harvard Sleep. In the end, an extra hour of sleep will benefit you more than staying up late, frantically reviewing material. Do as much as you can, but remember that those Z’s will get you A’s!