Finals week hacks

As the cheer of holiday spirit spreads through campus, so does the looming stress of finals week. For many, these five days of cumulative tests, final projects and group presentations have the potential to make or break our grades. Here are a few quick tips to make finals week a little more than bearable.

1. Location, location, location

Choose your study space wisely! While it may be easy to stay tucked in bed, studying in the dark corner of your room, choose a place with as much natural light as possible. Daylight has the potential to improve eyesight, health, and happiness, so take advantage of a bright study space.

2. Break it up

When it comes to the final few days of jam-packed studying, taking quick study breaks becomes more necessary than ever. According to the MIT Center for Academic Excellence, studying in 50 minute increments with 10 minute study breaks has proven to be most productive. Make sure to get up and move during each quick break, whether that’s simply stretching or doing a quick lap around the library.

3. Healthy is happy

The more stressed we get, the easier it can be to eat junk food and avoid the gym. However, peak stress weeks are the times when you will benefit most from taking care of yourself. In this New York Times article, differing studies are recapped suggesting how to maximize the time and intensity of your workouts to make the most of your memory. However, don’t think you have to hit an hour of extreme Cross Fit to get the benefits of endorphins. Even a quick walk outside can help reenergize your focus. Also, eating the right foods is key. Focus on protein packed foods like fish, eggs and peanut butter (but maybe not all together).

4. Zzzzz

Use time between exams wisely! While getting 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal each night, keeping your evenings “low-key” is important too. Going out can be tempting, especially as others finish their exams and are looking to celebrate. Take this time to study with friends, or stay in to watch movies, cook, or play games. Even if the time isn’t spent studying, your body and mind will thank you for keeping your evening hours calm.

5. Blast some tunes (or some light background music) 

Music can both increase your mood, and if played without lyrics, it can improve your brain’s ability to function. Non-lyrical music activates the right side of your brain, while the left side can focus on processing writing. Spotify, Pandora, and 8tracks have numerous playlists ready for your finals week study sessions!


Keep these tips in mind and don’t just survive finals week, thrive! May the points be ever in your favor.


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