Finals survival guide — Tips for studying, dealing with stress and staying well

Read time: 4 min

Finals week is almost here, Tigers! Check out our survival guide for tips on how to study better, access resources for helping you deal with stress, and continue staying well during this hectic week.

male student practicing his best study method

1.Study Tips

Contrary to popular belief, all-nighters are actually counterproductive—don’t fall for that old trick! All-nighters make you groggy and much less cognitively prepared to take your exam, and take away from one of your most important memory tools—sleep. Learning material and sleeping on it is very effective in helping you store it in your memory. But how do we avoid pulling an all-nighter in the first place?

  • Know your best strategies for online studying – Visit the Academic Success Center’s website for strategies to help you study best for your online classes and finals.
  • Plan ahead and make a study schedule for yourself – Prioritize more difficult exams or ones you have sooner, and start studying a few days in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute!
  • Say no to unnecessary things – Staying connected with friends and family is important for your mental health during finals week, but saying no to excessive hangouts or movie nights is probably in your best interest for finals week.

  • Limit your time on social media – Almost all of us are in the habit of picking up our phone and clicking through all the social media apps; for finals week, try to turn your phone off or delete your apps during your study time.
  • Seek out resources: Try to study with peers or study groups on Zoom or Facetime, or visit Academic Success Center’s website for strategic online learning and studying resources leading up to finals week. Also, look online for room reservations that are available during finals week to study on campus.


Like we mentioned before, sleep is an important memory tool! A good night’s sleep is needed for normal cognitive function, which includes paying attention and enhancing your learning, problem-solving skills, and ability to remember information. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, or controlling your emotions and behavior—none of which are helpful for taking a final exam. So what are some good tips for making sure you get a good night’s sleep?

  • Avoid caffeine before bedtime

  • Turn off electronics one hour before you go to bed

  • Stay on a schedule 

  • Keep your room dark, cool and quiet

If you’re still having trouble falling asleep, try doing a meditation or body scan before going to bed to help ease your stress and relax your mind. Try these sources below:

3.Stress Management

Finals week always brings about stress for college students across all majors. But remember, taking just 15 minutes a day to focus on stress management can help you study and focus better throughout the week. What are some tools to help you manage stress?

  • Meditation – Try using apps such as TAO, HeadSpace or Calm to do guided meditation.

  • TAO – This free, online, private resource is available on your laptop or phone and has many resources to help you manage stress, including access to a mindfulness library.

  • Exercise – Getting active for even a short period of time can kick start your energy and help relieve stress at the same time! 

woman running

4.Remember—YOU are the most important thing!

As finals seem to consume all your time, it’s easy to forget that you need to take time for yourself. If you take better care of yourself, then you will be in better shape to study and do well on your finals! So what should you remember to do each day?

  • Eat well – Eating fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods will ensure that your brain has the right nutrients to be at its most efficient.

  • Exercise – Taking just 30 minutes is beneficial for your cognitive functioning and will improve your studying.

  • Stay connected with friends – While we shouldn’t get carried away with socializing during finals week, it’s still important to remain connected with your friends via phone calls, texts, Zooms or Factimes for support and a mental reprieve during your studying, especially during these times of social distancing.