Survive the dead week


The week of finals is quickly approaching. So is the season of stress and cramming for a week-long torture of back-to-back exams. “Dead week” has arrived.

As a college student, finals week has terrified me ever since I was a freshman. However, a year of college experience has taught me a few things. I do feel more prepared now as I have learned a variety of study tips that have helped me pass my past exams.

In high school, I didn’t have to study for almost any of my exams, which eventually led me to a rude awakening in college. I had to realize that not studying at all was not going to be an option in this environment. So, I learned to start reviewing the material way before finals week snuck up on me. In classes, I started taking notes during lecture and later, I put them in a Quizlet and study the same day as it was taught. This approach helped not only understand material better, but also not have to cram days before exams started.

Something that isn’t often mentioned is that your mental health plays a huge factor when preparing for exams. I had the mindset of “This is too hard for me to do” and “I’m just going to take what I can get.” This is not the right way to go about test taking. Shaping my mind to have more positive, encouraging thoughts is what really helped me believe that I could accomplish any test. I also have to make sure I’m getting enough sleep, exercising and taking social breaks so I don’t feel as drained while studying. Preparing for finals can become mentally toxic for most students and channeling test anxiety through these tips can help alleviate the stress.

I had to go out of my way and stop doing just the bare minimum in class. Going to my professor’s office hours for help, seeking out tutoring and getting in as much extra credit as I could get helped me not feel as clueless when testing. Just going in and out of classes every other day was not going to improve my test scores. Although some students argue that going to classes regularly works fine, a little extra work is argumentally the best way to prepare for any upcoming final.

Of course, I had to learn all of this the hard way my first year. As a communication major, so far my weakest subject is math. Any type of math is hard for me to grasp and taking tests are always a struggle. My first semester, I had expected a certain grade in my math class and was definitely disappointed with the outcome of my final grade. When my second semester math class began, I decided to focus on all of these methods and eventually got the grade that I had aimed for. I learned that hard work pays off when you go the extra mile in your test preparations.

Preparing for finals is hard, but it is definitely possible with the right techniques used. I recommend anyone to try these tips and even figure out what works better individually for them.

How do you prepare for finals?

Alayna Chelette Freshman, Undecided

“I review my notes and stuff a little bit at a time, and then once it gets close to finals, I’ll study a lot.”


Lauren Scott Sophomore, Nursing

“Basically, just kind of getting together with a group of people in my class. We study together. Just testing each other on the information that we study and what we learn in class.”


Darious Robertson Senior, Communication

“I prepare for finals by going to my room, turning off all my electronics, putting them in my closet and opening up my books to study.”


Pawan Shrestha Senior, Biological Sciences

“Usually I just go over books and the notes, whatever we have and stay in the library for a while.”


Abigail Russel Freshman, Psychology

“I prepare by rereading all my notes and doing practice problems if it’s math and getting in study groups and things like that.”


Kendall Stanga Freshman, Biological Sciences

“I just try to pay attention in class the best that I can. Really let it soak in what the professor is saying and then I study as much as I can off the notes I took in class and powerpoints.”


Agela Thomas Senior, Biological Sciences

“A little bit of crying, and hopefully looking at the massive amount of notes I took this semester and more crying.”


Sydni Talbert Freshman, Social Work

“Pretty much make flashcards, look up Quizlet notes and pull all-nighters. Stay up till like three o’clock in the morning.”