How to Successfully Struggle Through Finals

Finals week is creeping up ever so quickly, but if you haven’t started thinking about them yet you’re in good company. My first year on campus I tried to “just wing” finals week. ‘Cause you know, how different could it really be from high school?

Please, don’t take the same approach. Adding even just a little bit of structure can really help keep you sane and focused. On this post I will be rambling about how you can successfully struggle right on through finals week and come out unscathed, but it might involve *gasp* studying.

1. Check each of your classes’ syllabi (yes, it’s right I looked) and write down the date and time of the final in your planner or on your calendar.

indy jones

This should be done about a month before finals week, so do it right now! Don’t worry, just leave this tab up and come back to read the rest later. But really, simply writing down and visually being able to see how close or far apart all of your exams are is super helpful to structure out your time.

Another good reason to do this early is because you can ask your professor to reschedule an exam if you have three or more within 24 hours, and it helps your case the sooner you notify them there is a problem (trust me).

2. Write down in your planner/calendar when you will be studying for what exams.


If it works out, I like to allow for whole days to be dedicated to studying for one class. Jumping between two or more subjects when it isn’t necessary makes me lose focus.

It may be different for you though. Think about how you best study and write down on what day and time period you will be studying. Writing it down in advance does wonders for your motivation when it comes time to actually get up and go to the library.

3. Know where you stand (or don’t) in your classes.

donald duck

Either calculate your current grade or ask your professor/TA to do so for you. Know what you need to earn on the final in order to get a grade you’re satisfied with in the class. More times than not, knowing what I need to score on the final exam has made me a little less stressed and has given me more motivation to achieve it.

4. Study strategically. 

communtiy study

What I mean is: consider the context of the exam to figure out how you can best study and use your time. Perhaps one final exam is worth 50% of your grade, and it’s mostly short answer/essay style questions. You may want to take more time studying and use studying methods where you practice reciting or writing out the whole answer. Maybe another final exam is worth 25%, and it consists of all multiple choice questions. In this case you may want to designate less time studying and use a studying method like flashcards.

Of course, also factor in what you need to score on your final exam to get what you want in the class.

5. Have a study buddy or two or three.

adventure time nice

Having a friend to study with can be a great reality check. They can remind you get a breath of fresh air and walk around every once in a while. You can take turns manning your table at the library during bathroom breaks and coffee runs. Plus, you can help motivate each other to get to the library in the first place.

Remember to pick the right kind of study buddy. There are some of my friends who I study great with and there are also some where we end up looking through her ex-boyfriends pictures on Facebook within fifteen minutes of sitting down. Know what friends are good study buddies, and don’t be afraid to turn down the others.

Reader Questions?

Do you have a fool-proof study tip? Have a pick-me-up library snack that never fails? Let me know, and I may include it in a future post! Feel free to comment below or tweet me @SierraLivesey.