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Surviving Finals

Charles Zinn
4 min readDec 13, 2021

Well, today it begins — Finals week. Starting today, Dec. 13th, I will begin the week-long journey into academic hell. A journey where I will be mentally ripped apart as I fruitlessly shove as much information into my brain as possible.

I have gotta say — finals are both the hardest and yet the easiest part of college. The hardest part about it is spending 8 hours a day just studying. The easy part is not dealing with classes or homework.

It is such an interesting time for the life of a college student. On one end, it’s the last week before break, but on the other end, it requires the most amount of energy to get through it.

As a senior, there is a lot I have learned about finals, and I’d thought that it would be beneficial if I share some wisdom with you. Here’s how to survive finals week:

  1. Take a lot of breaks.

I know this may not be the most popular suggestion, but if you try to study 24/7, it won’t work. You’ll lose your mind before the week wraps up. Try to break up the studying, and don’t be afraid to put the work aside to take a 10, 20, or 30-minute break if need be.

This is how I have survived finals week and passed the exams. If I tried to study without having a break, I would fail fairly quickly. Trust me, even taking a 30-minute nap will do wonders for you.

2. Study with friends.

Now, this tends to be hit-or-miss. Sometimes, you will get a lot done, but you may also get nothing done. Make sure you get together with people who will actually study and not just goof off the whole time.

So, why does studying with a group matter? It’s the difference between suffering alone versus suffering together. If you study alone, you’ll feel overwhelmed and isolated. You’ll feel that you’re the only one going through finals week.

But, if you study with friends (who will actually study) it makes things a bit better. You all can laugh in pain together and make jokes about how much finals suck. It doesn’t matter if they are from your major or not — all that matters is that you don’t feel alone. But, it is a plus if they’re from your major (having people you can ask questions can help clarify questions you have).

3. Don’t be afraid to call it a night.

If you’ve been studying for 8 hours, and feel tired, and it’s nearing nighttime— call it. No, really — it doesn’t matter if the exams are tomorrow or not, call it.

Eventually, your brain will be fried, and you can’t shove any more information into that tiny brain of yours. Your best bet at this point is to take the rest of the night off. Read a book, play some video games, go for a run — do something that is not studying.

This can do wonders for you. You may still be stressed, but you’ll feel a lot more rested tomorrow. Plus, if you still feel stressed, just remind yourself that you worked hard today. You didn’t slack off and you did your best.

4. Go to bed on time.

I know, I know, sleeping is something that doesn’t exist in college. But, when it comes to exams, you’ll be able to better recall information on a test if you go to bed on time. Choosing to do overnighters or getting 3 hours of sleep is more likely to ruin your ability to recall information. You need sleep! I must repeat, YOU NEED SLEEP!

You will handicap yourself if you don’t go to bed on time. Get a full 8 hours of sleep, and make sure that your sleep is consistent each time. Don’t go to bed at 3 am one night and then at 1 am the next time. NO!! Go to bed at a decent time each time (like 10 pm), and get up in the morning. Making sure that you follow your Circadian Rhythm will benefit you in the long run.

Plus, having the energy to get through the day without relying on 3 cups of coffee before noon hits is a plus. I’m not saying that you’ll still be tired, but it can help give you a head start for the day. You’ll have a bit more energy in your reservoir. Trust me, you need as much energy as possible to survive finals week.

5. Don’t stress too much about it.

I know finals are an overwhelming time but lemme drop some golden wisdom on you. No matter what happens — just remember this. These are only finals. It’s not the end of the world if you fail one or all of them. I know that they’re important, but they will come and they will leave. You’ll eventually graduate and finals week will only become a distant memory that you will laugh and reminisce on.

Don’t let your stress get the best of you. It’s okay to feel a bit stressed and anxious, but the best way to combat it is by studying. If you still feel stressed, remind yourself of how much work you’re putting into finals week. Encourage and be kind to yourself. Instead of looking at how much work you have to do, look at how much work you’ve already accomplished. You will feel a lot more encouraged when you see how much you’ve already done.

I do that these tips help you. Finals week sucks hard, but always show love towards yourself!! I could on and on about finals week, but I have to head out and start studying myself!

I wish you luck!



Charles Zinn

Writer, reader, and habit maker. I write articles on book reviews, lifestyle, and writing.