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Chico State

10 Tips for Surviving Finals Week

Hannah Hubbard, accounting senior, studies for her finals
(Jason Halley/University Photographer)

Hannah Hubbard, accounting senior, studies for her finals on the second floor of Meriam Library Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Chico, Calif. (Jason Halley/University Photographer)

By Quinn Western, social media and photography intern

The most stressful week of the semester is upon us—finals week. Here are some study tips to help you come out a champion.

1. Schedule study and down time

Who wouldn’t want to be as relaxed as this otter during finals week? Schedule yourself some breaks while studying to help retain information and keep yourself at ease. You wouldn’t want it any otter way.

2. Stock up on Scantrons, pencils, and blue/green books

Go get them right now, as you’re reading this.

3. Set multiple alarms

Don’t find yourself saying, “Why did today have to be the day I slept through my alarm?!” Create a buddy system with your roommates and classmates for extra precaution.

4. Table rotating

If you’re a returning student, you know that during the last two weeks of the semester the library looks like the DMV—cranky and packed. Make a schedule with friends starting in the morning so that someone is always occupying a table and studying. That way, when you get out of your night class, you’ll have a guaranteed spot.

5. Feed your brain

Step away from the chip aisle and stock up on brain food. Think healthy and fresh to get your body going. Taking the time to make a meal can also be a good mental break.

6. De-stress at the library

Don’t fret! The second floor of the library will turn into an recharge space equipped with snacks, crayons (yes!), games, and extra study materials during finals week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Don’t forget to take a moment to recharge (see No. 1).

7. Study material in different places

Switching up your study location can help your brain stay active and associate different material with different spots. Use the library AND pick some other magical places too.

8. Pick some soothing, but not sleep-inducing, tunes

If you’re the type who likes background noise while studying, try some of these playlists and stations:

    1. Film scores – Pandora (No words, usually)
    2. Harry Potter movie scores (magical, inspirational, and sometimes scary) – Pandora (No words)
    3. USA Today College – Spotify (Words)
    4. Classical for Studying – Pandora (No words)
    5. Buckethead – Spotify (No words on most songs)

Just don’t overdo it.

9. Block out social media sites

That quick happy birthday post on your friend’s wall has turned into a glance at your newsfeed, which progressed into 20 minutes of scrolling on Instagram. Practice self-control, switch your phone to airplane mode, or try one of the many apps that can block out social media sites while you study. Not strong enough? Have a trustworthy friend change your passwords and tell them not to give them to you until you finish studying.

10. Stay well rested

Strategically plan your coffee breaks so that the caffeine doesn’t affect your sleeping pattern. And pencil in some naps to reboot. is a great tool that suggests when is the best time to nap and for how long so that you wake up refreshed. You don’t wanted to be exhausted or disoriented while studying, giving the presentation, or taking the exam.

BONUS – Get outside and get active

This isn’t just a good opportunity to take a breather; exercise can also be meditative. Do some yoga, go to Bidwell Park, or try a class at the WREC.


Got a study tip we missed? Add a comment or share with @chicostate on Twitter or Facebook.