Finals Tips for Students

Finals week can be a stressful time under normal circumstances. But the added pressures of dealing with a pandemic and limited social interaction can make it even more difficult. 

But you can prepare for the challenges of finals week this year by following these tips:

Plan in advance

We all know finals are going to look different this semester. Minimize some of the additional stress of doing finals remotely by preparing for these changes in advance and not waiting to the last minute to begin studying.

Schedule breaks

Our brains are incredible, but they still need a break from time to time. As you plan your study sessions, be sure to include breaks. Taking a step back can help you relieve stress and better retain information.

Listen to your body

When we become preoccupied, it can be easy to forget to fulfill our most basic needs. During this time, it’s important to listen to our bodies and address our needs. You can do this by using the HALT method:

  • H: Are you hungry? If the answer is yes, grab a snack or sit down for a meal to help relieve any distractions or frustrated feelings you may have. Eating regular meals can also help you feel more energized, improve your mood, and increase your concentration. 
  • A: Are you angry? If the answer is yes, identify why and ways you can address it. Take a step back and allow yourself time to process your emotions.
  • L: Are you lonely? Being lonely doesn’t necessarily mean you’re alone. Even if you’re around other people, you can still feel distant, isolated, withdrawn, or disconnected. If you experience any of these emotions, it may be time to ​message a friend, call a parent or family member, or have a conversation about what you’re going through with someone you trust. 
  • T: Are you tired? Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. If so, it may be time to take a break, do a quick meditation, stretch, lie down,​ spend a moment outside, or simply close your eyes and take a deep breath.

Avoid comparing stress levels

Stress feeds off of stress, especially around finals. During this time, it is common for people to talk about how little sleep they’re getting, among other sacrifices. Instead of comparing how much additional stress you’ve taken on in the name of finals, work to prioritize self-care as a part of your finals plan and encourage others to do the same. 

Ask for help

Asking for help can be difficult, even when we need it. It’s important to remember, however, that your friends, family, peers, and professors all want you to succeed. ​We suggest reaching out before finals to establish that line of support​. You can also reach out to the Center for Assessment, Referral, and Education (CARE) for resources to help you get through end of the semester stress.