Editor’s Note: even if you’re not a current college student, these tips can still be applied to major projects or deadlines you have in your work.
Here’s some crazy news: we only have two weeks of class before finals week. As we all know the end of the semester is always a busy, stressful, and overwhelming time. This semester is a bit different as we are all learning remotely, so I wanted to provide you with some tips that can help make it more manageable.
Starting several weeks in advance, begin looking at what you have for finals in each of your classes. Because everything is due within one week, it can often be overwhelming. By starting early, you are able to get a head start on your papers, projects, and studying, so it doesn’t feel so stressful during actual finals week. I also like to work ahead as much as I can several weeks before finals so I don’t have to worry about other assignments when it is time to start studying for finals exams and writing final papers.
Know Your Expectations
Every class and every professor is different. Take some time to read through your syllabi for each class to know the expectations your professor has in place for your final. If you are having a final exam, you should know if it is cumulative or not. If it isn’t, know which chapters the exam will be focusing on so you know what to prepare for. It is also helpful to know what type of exams you will be taking — multiple choice, short answer, etc. — as this will also guide your studying. For projects and papers, it is important that you understand the expectations that your professor has. This will help you avoid losing points for not meeting the finals’ requirements. Also, by doing all of this in advance, you will be able to contact your professor if you have any questions.
Know Your Deadlines
Be sure that you know the dates and times of each of your exams, as well as due dates for projects and papers. Write these down in a planner or add them to your Google Calendar to be sure you don’t forget. There is nothing worse than missing a deadline!
Break Up Big Tasks
An additional tip I have is to break up projects or papers into smaller tasks. Here’s an example: If you have a large research paper due at the end of the semester, set yourself a due date for the outline, then split up your writing by sections/topics and give yourself due dates for each of them. Then, add these dates to your planner or Google Calendar to keep track of them. This will help you stay on top of your projects and not have it all come crashing down on you the day before it is due.
During this time in the semester, it is important to avoid becoming burnt out. To do this, remember to take breaks. Whether you are studying for exams, writing a paper, or working on a project, giving yourself some time to be active, get a snack, or just let your brain rest is crucial. Try to work for an hour and then take 15-20 minutes to let yourself relax. I have gotten really good at remembering to take breaks and it definitely helps me be more productive!
Prepare for Technical Difficulties
Because we are all learning remotely this semester, I am sure we’ve each experienced some technical difficulties. Be sure you know what to do in these different scenarios and prepare for them. If you have to use a new system or browser to take an exam, practice using it before the actual exam to avoid issues. Know how to contact your professor, too, so that you will be able to quickly get a hold of him or her if something were to go wrong.
The end of the semester is always bittersweet because it’s exciting to have a break, but then you remember that you have to make it through finals week first. I hope that these tips help you feel as little stress as possible the next few weeks. Good luck on your finals!
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