Finals Survival: 5 Tips to Get Through Final Exams in Athens

(Flickr Photo/ Yoann JEZEQUEL)

While the parents of college kids might ask a question like, “So things are winding down for you?” Athens locals know better when backpacks clutter coffee shop seating, and students at the University of Georgia (UGA) look haggard and weary walking to class.

Final exams start at UGA on April 28, 2017. Here are five tips to make it through the stress of finals week and some places you can visit around town to study, take a break, or have a little fun this spring.

  1. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
    The Cleveland Clinic reports that “being awake for 16 hours straight decreases your performance as much as if your blood alcohol level were .05%.” While pulling an all night study session may seem like your only option before that all important final, putting off sleep means you are willingly setting yourself up to fail. WebMD writes that sleep is vital part of thinking and learning. If you want to pass your finals with flying colors, getting the recommended amount of sleep will is key to your success.
    Best Location: Your bed. Skip bringing your pillow to the Miller Learning Center and get some rest in your dorm or apartment.
  2. Order strategic takeout. 
    It might be a better suggestion to recommend canceling that takeout you just ordered, finals week means less time for activities like getting enough sleep and cooking a well-balanced meal. If eating out is essential to surviving all your marathon study sessions, the American Heart Association suggests ordering foods like bagels, grilled chicken sandwiches, baked potatoes, and diet sodas. These foods are much better for you than the alternatives– pastries, fried chicken, french fries, and a milkshake. If you are interested in snacking healthier, take this advice from a college student at Princeton University who survived finals on home-cooked meal and hearty snacks.
    Best Location: Wherever you are. Many places, like Einstein Bros. Bagels and Chick-fil-a, are on campus. There are also many local vendors that accept Bulldawg Bucks. 
  3. Find the study method that works best for you. 
    Whether you are an auditory, visual, or kinaesthetic learner , everyone has a different approach for studying for finals. If you find yourself in a study rut during finals week, the New York Times suggests switching up your usual study spot. “Simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention,” said Benedict Carey of the Times. You can also try the tried-and-true flash card method. The Huffington Post reports that “[flash] cards are a great way to develop and use mnemonic devices and associative phrases.
    Best Location: You can visit the Main Library on campus for a great study space or take advantage of their online resources. If you are interested in finding another location, try a Jittery Joe’s Athens location or grab a study room with classmates at the Miller Learning Center on campus. 
  4. Manage your time well. 
    Like flash cards, another tried-and-true survival tip– make a to-do list. This not only ensures that you do not forget to write that take home essay or finish up that last bit of homework, but it will also help you prioritize your time. Try writing your to-do list by putting the highest priority task you have to accomplish at the top and work your way down. Forbes magazine suggests “[writing] your to-do list the night before” and including at time to have the task completed by.
    Best Location: In your planner, on a dry erase board, on a stickie note. Write your to-do list on something you normally use and will not lose. 
  5. Be confident.
    Dr. Susan Murphy, co-author of In the Company of Women, writes, “confidence is a belief in your ability to succeed– a belief that stimulates action.” You have been working hard all semester, and the stress surrounding your final exams is the last obstacle you have to overcome this school year. If you walk into your final exam with confidence, regardless of whether you pulled an all night or you spent the last week preparing, you are setting yourself up for success. Dr. Murphy suggests “[using] your body language to increase your confidence and self-esteem.”
    Best Location: Everywhere. Take out that blue book and do your best.