One semester is almost done! The only thing standing between me and winter break is two finals: Calculus II for Bio on Tuesday, and Applied Chemical Equilibrium on Friday. Of course, I am writing this as an excuse to take an extended study break, but nevertheless, I thought I’d share some to having a successful finals week.

I’ve always been a big believer that taking care of yourself is the most important aspect of doing well on big tests. Back in high school when I’d have four consecutive days of AP tests, I’d make sure to spread out my studying over a longer period time, so that I could sleep rather than stay up late studying.

My upcoming finals week is relatively light, largely due to the fact that my freshman seminar doesn’t have and exam, nor does Introduction to Fiction and Poetry, and my Spanish Conversation class had the final during the last week of classes. However the exams I do have cover a TON of material, probably more that I’ve been responsible for on any other test, so they are definitely looming over my head.

Sleep. Its the oldest trick in the book. You have to be able to stay awake during an exam, and pulling an all-nighter to study won’t help you learn any new information, nor will it help you recall anything on an exam Save yourself the pain and get some rest, its better to miss one really hard question than to make a million careless mistakes because you were too tired.

Routine. I thrive off routine. I grew up with every moment of my day packed, and I’ve learned that especially before a stressful test, its important for me to keep my same routine to the best of my ability. For me, this means swimming in the morning. During high school, my club team practiced from 4:30 – 6:30 am. Was it fun waking up at 3:53? No. Was it fun jumping in a freezing cold pool and doing a killer practice that early in the morning? Not at all. But after a hard practice, my mind is clear, and I’m wide awake. So on mornings when I don’t swim, I feel groggy for hours, even with coffee. For me, its important that I keep my same morning routine, to make sure I am as focused as possible for my exam.

Relax. When you are stressed out of your mind, the best thing you can do is taking some you time. Whether this means taking a long shower, writing in a journal, listening to music, or taking a nap, take a break to do something for yourself. On Monday, the Athletic Center is having a workshop with Nila, a yoga instructor who teaches yoga lessons for the student-athletes on campus. The workshop will focus on helping us relax and get mentally prepared for exams, and I am really looking forward to it.

Study with Purpose. After a whole semester of information, you can only be tested on so much. Most finals will primarily focus on material that hasn’t been tested on yet, but all material in the course is fair game. Before I start really cracking down on studying, I make sure to look back on my past midterms, and compare them to my class notes and the material we covered at the beginning of the semester.  This way, I can focus my studying to what I actually need to know. If my calc professor didn’t ask about some obscure differential equation formula on our first midterm, will I be expected to know it on the final? Most likely not. Its important to be familiar with everything, but to really focus on the most high yield topics.

So fingers crossed I make it through exam week alive. I’ll let you know how it goes!