Advice for Finals Week

By Lydia Concannon

Picture Credit: Lydia Concannon

     As finals week approaches you can sense the dreadful anticipation in the students as you walk through the school hallways. They scramble to finish last minute projects and pull all-nighters while studying for tests. This week is known for sending shivers down the spines of high school and college students around the country. With the stress that finals bring it poses the question: How do I survive finals week?

Don’t Overstress Yourself

     In the upcoming weeks before finals, students seem to stress out but do nothing about it. It is easy to worry about your finals but it is hard to take action. Students who start mentally preparing themselves earlier have a greater chance of succeeding during finals. “My advice to students during finals week would be ‘don’t wait until finals week’,” says Oyster River High School Librarian Kathy Pearce, who helps students prepare for finals by compiling a lot of information from different teachers about projects and tests and putting it onto the library’s website. (

Get Sleep

     “I always try to make sure that sleep gets prioritized, because I know that for me, sleeping is just as important as studying,” says Sophie Webb, a recent ORHS alumna. Finals week is notoriously known for the lack of sleep it causes students. As hard as it can be to not save all of your work until the last minute then end up staying awake all night on a coffee-induced cram session, it is even harder to take a final when you are running on minimal sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep can limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate, and solve problems. You are also far more likely to forget simple information like names or numbers. Many students stay up all night during finals week to attempt to do better on tests and projects. However, in a study mentioned in UCLA Newsroom ‘Cramming for a test? Don’t do it’ it showed that kids who didn’t get enough sleep were not only more likely to have problems understanding during class but they were also more likely to do badly on tests, quizzes and homework — the very outcome the students were staying up late to avoid. “As a concept I think we should have finals, but I don’t think that they should be weighted as heavily as they are,” says Payal Nanda (‘16). The stress that finals week brings to most students, whether it be in high school or college, can cause lack of sleep. The best way to fix this is to plan out your studying and to attempt to not overstress yourself.

Don’t Procrastinate

     “Teachers always seem to save a lot of work until the very end of the semester. They tend to give a lot of work right at the end of the year so that we are all overwhelmed at the end of the year,” says Sam Newton (‘17). Students aren’t the only ones who seem to procrastinate sometimes. As the year comes to a close, students find that the workload is piled on in order to prepare for finals. With the amount of work that comes with finals week students can find it hard to get their work done in time. As a student it is  often difficult to balance projects and tests for seven classes let alone have them all due during the span of four days. It may seem impossible to not procrastinate when given so much work, but it is essential, especially when it comes to finals, that you don’t wait until the night before to do all of your work. “I think it’s in our nature to procrastinate,” says Pearce. Even if it is in our nature and it might seem easier to wait until the last minute to study, you will do better on your finals if you don’t wait until 12pm the night before to try and learn the information.

     Even if finals seem like an unfair judgement of our abilities throughout the school year they are still important to a person’s success in a class. “The amount of stress on students is impeccable. It’s an unhealthy stress, which can lead to anxiety and a poor grade on the exam,” says Maddie Hubbell (‘19), who will be taking finals for the first time this year.

     Whether it be a test, project or any other type of final preparation is key. Finals can be overwhelming, but if you don’t let them overstress you than you can succeed. Finals week can be the most stressful time for a student, whether in high school, college or graduate school. You can ensure you’re prepared for your exams with these study tips, which can help you conquer your finals.