BC Survival Guide: Finals Week

Photo Credit: Eliot Gentiluomo

Like it or not, finals week is here. Many have had a negative experience with finals week, but if you are dedicated, you can make this finals week easier. What follows is a step-by-step guide to what’s helped me in the past to be successful academically and mentally during finals season.

1.       Create a list of everything you have to do

If you have lots of tasks to complete, this can be overwhelming, but do it! There are many ways to do this, but I’ll share my preferred way. First, count how many classes you have. Then, get that many pieces of paper. For example, I am taking four classes, so I’ll grab four pieces of paper. After that, label each piece of paper with the class name and everything you have left to do for that class. This includes chapters of a textbook you have to study, assignments you may need to do, essays to write, and anything else that corresponds to the class. Next to the assignment, write the date that you need to have that task done by. Repeat this for the remaining classes.

2.       Create a schedule of what tasks you are going to complete each day

I personally find if I don’t create a planned-out schedule, I will procrastinate until the last minute. To help combat this, I personally create a schedule by telling myself what I am going to do every day up until the end of the quarter. I put the tasks with sooner due dates first and then assign the tasks with later due dates for later in my schedule. I will typically assign myself about 7-9 hours worth of work every day during finals week. 

3.       Add all the non-academic related things into your schedule

Now that you have a plan to get all your schoolwork done, it’s time to plan how you are going to incorporate all of the non-academic things into your finals week schedule. Typically, I will add any events into my schedule such as work and appointments. After that, I figure out what type of exercise I’ll do to keep moving. This could be something like a wellness walk, cardio, strength training or even yoga. Also, I schedule one or two mental health activities into my day. This could include taking a bath, watching a TV show or movie, listening to music, journaling or talking with a friend. Lastly, I create a plan for eating by deciding what I’m going to eat and when I’m going to make it.

4.       Reach out when you need it

Even with a schedule, finals week can be difficult, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it. Bellevue College has many different resources for students, and here are two that may be applicable to you during finals week. If you are struggling with your mental health, be sure to virtually visit the Bellevue College counseling center. They can meet with you and help navigate you into the right place mentally. To make an appointment, go onto their website and submit an online appointment request. If you are academically struggling, virtually visit Bellevue College’s academic success center. The academic success center offers drop-in tutoring and tutoring appointments in a variety of different subjects.

5.       Keep on going even when it’s hard

Studying for longer periods of time can be extremely hard on your mind and body. If you feel that you are struggling with continuing to study, try the Pomodoro method. Study for 25 minutes, give yourself a 5-10-minute break and repeat the cycle. When you want to stop studying, remind yourself that you will get a break after the 25 minutes. If you are struggling with motivation, reward yourself after you complete a task with something like a piece of chocolate or an episode of your favorite television series.

The key to following this plan is to get started early and to be disciplined. Most of all, remember that finals week doesn’t have to be hard. You can determine how this finals week will go for you. If you want to have a successful finals week and you put the effort in, you will have a successful finals week. Good luck Bulldogs!