Finals Week Tips!

Well, the “fifteenth week” (better known to most of us as “dead week”) and finals week are here!

As McNair Scholars, we know you have a lot on your plate. Likely, you will have multiple finals, projects, and presentations to be working on. Senior and Master Scholars who may be finishing up on their graduate applications while studying for final exams and completing course project and papers will face particular challenges.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by these tasks and by the pressures we put upon ourselves to succeed in these activities, but it’s also important to maintain a healthy balance so that you remain healthy, happy, and able to celebrate the upcoming holidays and time off before returning back to UNL in January!

In our October individual meetings, we talked about time management, and now is a great time to set those tips to good use! Here’s a reminder of some of those tips:

Mark Your Deadlines.

  • Get out that planner (or use an online calendar), and clearly mark deadlines like paper due dates and test times. Next, check for conflicts if you have two tests that overlap, or if you’re scheduled to work during a test time; you’ll need to resolve that as quickly as possible. Also, gather all the class syllabi and take note of when professors’ office hours are if a last-minute question comes up. Keep in mind that Love and CYT libraries have extended hours December 11-13, staying open until 1 a.m. to better serve students who prefer late-night study sessions.

Set a Study Schedule.

  • Outline the remaining two weeks of your semester. On a piece of paper create a REALISTIC study schedule to prepare yourself for finals. Start by writing down the date of your final exams, and it’s always a good rule that in difficult classes you should study a week in advance–yes, a week. It seems crazy, but whether your final is cumulative or over three chapters, it is easier to designate one chapter to study per day. The point of this schedule is to make this time more manageable. Don’t try to spend all day studying one thing or you will burn out.

Use Good Study Habits.

  • Take advantage of your textbook. Many textbooks come with online study tools that can better prepare you for tests. Also look for videos that accompany the chapters as well as practice quizzes and activities.
  • Rewrite Notes. Having a hard time making your lecture notes stick? Rewriting your notes takes longer than skimming them. The extra time you spend rewriting can help ingrain the information in your mind.
  • Get Creative. Everyone has a different studying style – some people are visual learners, others are better at listening. Find out what works for you, and do it. This can be anything from putting sticky notes with hard-to-remember facts on your computer monitor, to listening to podcasts of lectures while you eat breakfast.
  • Form a Study Group. Study guides don’t prepare themselves! Don’t wait until the Sunday before exam week to figure out what should be on that yet-to-be-created study guide. Try forming a study group to share the load of material. Additionally, study groups can be a great way to relieve stress—you’re all in this together!

Take Care of Yourself.

  • If you don’t take care of your body, you could hit a slump right when you need the most energy. Take time to eat healthy meals (that means fruits and veggies, carbs and proteins, not just a Snickers bar and a Gatorade) and schedule time for sleep.
  • Your mind needs time to rest and refresh, so taking breaks can help you feel more alert. Make time to go for a walk, hit the gym, call a friend, or even watch some TV – it will help you refresh your mind.


Finals Study Hints Adapted from:

Explore posts in the same categories: Academic Success, Self-care, Study Skills, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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