How to survive finals

Library seats are likely to fill up as finals get underway.By Ashley Morganelli
Studying for finals is very hard, but not knowing how to balance your daily life with multiple tests at once is even harder.
Luckily, there are strategies for making this stressful time more manageable. The following top 10 tips and tricks for surviving finals were provided by Access Services Librarian Linda LeBlanc and her colleagues:
1. Don’t wait until the last minute to contact a librarian for help.
2. Set a schedule. Budget time for material review several days ahead of a final, and then a refresher the day before.
3. Take the time to get organized. Make sure you review what is on the exam or required for the final paper. Make sure you have all the appropriate notes and readings readily available before you sit down to study.
4. Reduce distractions. Don’t study in your dorm or house – find a quiet place in the library or get a table at a café. Find a place where you’re unlikely to run into your friends. Don’t keep the Internet open on your computer. If you work better with background noise, use headphones to listen to low-key, non-distracting music.
5. Plan to take short breaks as a reward. For example, “If I study uninterrupted for two hours for this history exam, I’ll allow myself an hour coffee break with a friend or 30 minutes on Facebook.”
6. Save your celebrating until ALL your finals are completed. It’s hard to study effectively while recovering from a night out with friends.
7. Don’t try to proofread on the same night you finish your paper. If you can, put a night of sleep in between your completion and a proofread, especially if you have the time. It’s amazing the number of mistakes you can find with fresh eyes.
8. Try not to pull an “all-nighter,” but if you can’t avoid it, rather than trying to power through the entire night, schedule 20-minute “power naps” every four hours, with an alarm (more than one if necessary).
9. Try to avoid excessive doses of caffeine; that may keep the body awake, but not necessarily the mind. Drinking a lot of water, and taking brisk 10-minute walks (to bring the heart rate up) can work better.
10. Get a good night’s sleep the night before your final.
In addition to the tips above, other members of the Fitchburg State community offered advice and reminders for students.
“Prioritize your classes – don’t cram it all in. And, working with a study buddy absolutely helps,” said Meghan Mahoney.
“You most definitely have to space out your studying and balance your work and fun,” said Shaylee Bowman.
“Go to bed early, don’t wait till the last minute to study, and give yourself some time to relax,” said Eric Collins.
LeBlanc noted that the library is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday from May 1 through the end of finals; it will also be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 12.
Spring 2012 finals are scheduled to take place from May 14 to May 18. To check the dates and times of your finals, go to the Registrar area of the FSU website, and click the link under Most Requested in the top right-hand corner; or, simply click here: