Six Useful Tips to Help You Survive Finals Week

It’s that dreaded time of the year again: finals week.


Cue the dramatic music. You struggle to keep your stress levels from going up and your GPA from going down, but it sure seems like stress and good grades are a package deal. I wish I could give you (and myself) a magic formula to get rid of all test anxiety and to ace your finals, but it simply doesn’t exist. That said, here are some quick tips to help you manage this seemingly unbearable week:

Sleep.

I’m only on the first point, and you’re probably already angry. I get it. Sleeping is probably not a priority right now, and you may feel you absolutely must pull an all-nighter to prepare for the exam.

Here’s the thing: you’ve been learning this information all semester. You can only cram so much information into your brain during this final stretch. And you don’t want to be exhausted and unable to function while actually taking your test. If at all possible, try to catch some Zs. You’ll be glad you did.

Breathe.

When I’m highly stressed, I often forget to breathe. You don’t want to pass out. So, when your studies get overwhelming—take a break. Close your eyes. Clear your mind. 

Breathe.
Slowly.
Slower.
Slower.
Good.

Do this until you trust yourself to function without a breakdown. Here is an excellent link to some information posted by Harvard Medical School regarding the benefits of breath control and some helpful tips on how to physically lower your stress levels!

Exercise.

Sitting cooped up all day will hold you back. Cut your body some slack, and get moving! Fun fact: consistent exercise actually helps improve your brain’s memory and thinking skills. You can even bring your textbooks to the gym and study while using a machine like a treadmill or stationary bike.

However, there’s a good chance you’ll need a study break anyway—so consider putting down the textbooks and taking a short break. Don’t have time for the gym? Then check out these exercises from Livestrong.com that can be easily done in your own apartment.

Avoid time wasters.

While I highly encourage taking breaks, if you take too many during the day, you’ll feel the repercussions when it’s 1 a.m., and you realize you haven’t actually gotten anything done. For example, if you know that Netflix to you is like Lay’s Chips- bet you can’t watch just one, then avoid it at all costs. It’s just one week. You can do it! If you’re struggling to break the addiction, then here are some helpful tips on breaking free from the binge-watching cycle.

Eat.

I’m not advising you to stress-eat an entire box of cookies, so don’t get the wrong idea. Think more like “don’t skip breakfast.” Choose healthier options—especially brain foods—and use them for fuel to get through the week. 

Look at the big picture.

Yes, your finals are important. I won’t even pretend they aren’t. However, in the grand scheme of things, your biology final is a microscopic dot. By keeping things in perspective, you can lower your stress levels and avoid the soul-crushing anxiety that can often show up during finals. No matter what happens, you’ll be okay.

Be well, Auburn.


Photography: Jack P.

Every day is an Auburn Adventure for Cassie as she lives "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Cassieness."

Her favorite ways to stay active include daily treks to class, playing volleyball or tennis, spontaneous dancing, and taking advantage of the Recreation and Wellness Center.

Cassie enjoys expressing herself through creative stories with endings that may only be revealed in 140 characters or less.