At this point in my life, I have survived a total of 33 college finals. Yes, I went back and counted. As such, I feel qualified to advise our readership on how you, too, can survive the finals season.
Tip #1: Get started early.
I realize that this article will be published too late to help many of you. The truly exceptional students have been studying for weeks now, so you have some catching up to do. I suggest attempting to cram those weeks of studying into this weekend, or, if you’re feeling really brave, the night before your final.
Tip #2: Study in groups.
This is the one time of year where the smartest kids in class get to feel appreciated. Ask them to study with you! Alternatively, study with friends. While less productive, it can make you forget that deep feeling of despair that comes with looking at an overwhelming study guide.
Tip #3: Don’t take a class with Keith Graber-Miller.
Keith finds joy in making tests. That should worry you. Luckily, he teaches religion courses, so praying really hard for an A can sometimes get you a boost.
Tip #4: Take breaks.
This one is crucial. I personally recommend snack breaks, but any sort of break is helpful, as long as you are capable of getting back to work. If you’re the sort of person where a ten-minute YouTube break turns into a few hours of watching random TikTok compilations, maybe just do some stretches instead.
Tip #5: Create a mantra.
My personal mantra during this time is: “Only one more week.” Another good one is, “An F won’t kill you.” I also really like, “After this, I can sleep as long as I want.” That may be the only thought that sustains me through this next week.
Tip #6: Bribery.
If all else fails, bribery works wonders. Now, I’m not talking about handing your professor $20 and winking. No, I’m talking about a cute handmade card with chocolates, or maybe a fruit basket, with a heartfelt note about how much you appreciated their class.
Professors are stressed out, too, and you want them feeling happy and well-fed when they go to grade your exam. (As a side note, to any of my professors reading this, I just wanted you to know how thankful I am for your wisdom and guidance throughout this semester.)
These tips have a 100% success rate, in that I have not yet died from finals or failed out of college (knock on wood). If anything backfires, though, just know that the problem was user error.