Surviving finals week



From Dec. 5-12 except for the Dec. 10-11, Rod Library will be open until 2 a.m. for students to study and work on group projects.

ABIGAIL SAATHOFF, Opinion Columnist

A junior’s guides on surviving finals week for the 2021-2022 academic year

When I arrived on UNI’s campus my freshman year, I had no idea what to expect when it came to finals. I had heard a few things about them from older friends, and my high school had a finals week and final exam.  I quickly learned that college finals and high school finals are extremely different. Every finals week since my first year, I have learned new things that help me to get through the week. 

Plan Ahead 

This was the best thing I ever did my finals week my sophomore year. I printed out a calendar of that week and wrote in each final and due date that took place during that week. After that, I was able to evaluate when the right times to study were, and how to plan my week around them. 

Start Early 

After you make your schedule for the week, go through and decide what you can do right now. Can you make a Quizlet for your first exam of the week? Can you finish a few papers or presentations? Doing this can help you to reduce your stress at the close of the semester, and during the actual week of finals. According to the Princeton Review’s article “How to Study for Finals,” “Be realistic about how long it will take to, say, memorize the dates for all the Civil War battles. You need to fit in brain breaks, too!”

Get Some Rest

This was something I ignored during my first finals week. I didn’t think I needed to get a full eight hours of sleep and spent time up late studying instead of getting rest. During your finals week, I encourage you to evaluate where you are in your studies and decide whether staying up and studying more is going to be helpful or harmful. According to an article titled Guide to College Finals by Amy Mallory-Kim, “students should try to sleep for at least eight hours during finals week to minimize stress and maximize mental sharpness.”

Build In Breaks

This was another thing that I have struggled with in nearly every single one of the finals thus far. Every time, I get way too enthralled in my work, and work on the same things for hours on end without stopping for snacking,meals or to take a moment to breathe. I’ve started scheduling 90 minute segments for work, where at the end of that time, I walk around a bit, evaluate if I need a snack, and watch a few TikToks. After that little break, I can get back to work with a clear mind and move forward. 

Take Care of Yourself 

Much like making sure to get enough sleep at night, you also still need to do the basic things to take care of yourself. Make sure you are brushing your teeth in the morning, brushing your hair, showering, eating your meals, etc. These are things that will bring you back to earth and make you feel like a real person, even when you are stressed. 

Give Yourself Grace

I’m extremely hard on myself, making finals week difficult for me to not get frustrated with myself or worry about how I am going to do on my exams, papers, or presentations. Something I learned is that regardless of how I am feeling about a test score or preparedness for an exam, I have to be kind to myself. If you continue to be kind and supportive to yourself and give yourself some grace you will likely do better on your exams. 

Make Your Study Space Comfy 

In my freshman year, I fell in love with studying in the library. I would set up camp right next to Book Bistro, and work on homework with the sounds of coffee making in the background. Before finals week, find the spot you like to study in, grab any tools you need to study (flashcards, pencils, etc), and get the space prepared for the week. In my case, I always brought a pile of pencils, flashcards, snacks, my laptop charger and a pop and was able to stay in the library for the day. 


Finals week is difficult, but it is so important to do all you can to best prepare yourself for success. If you need support in a class, talk to your professor. If you are confused, ask questions. If you need to prepare for exams, make a Quizlet and do what you need to be successful, and you will find success.

Photo caption:From Dec. 5 – 12 except for the Dec.10 – 11, Rod Library will be open until 2 a.m. for students to study and work on group projects.