Top 10: Ways to survive finals

Bradley Krzysztow

Already dreading finals? Here are tips on how to get through them successfully.

10. Allocate your time

Go into each day knowing what times you’ll be studying. That way, you can plan your day around them, instead of planning your study time around everything else. It’s very important to have set study times, because if you don’t, you’ll keep pushing it off, and next thing you know, the final is upon you. So set the times and stick to them.

9. Do the easy stuff first

This will give you motivation to keep on studying. Completing a couple of worksheets before starting an essay is a good way to feel optimistic about your workload. You don’t want to start a big project first and then get discouraged from studying at all.

8. Take frequent breaks

Sitting down for a long time will make you tired. Get up and stretch about every half hour. Stretching helps increase oxygen flow throughout the body, and it’ll give your body and mind a boost. It’s also good to give your noggin a rest for a minute. You don’t want to fry your brain after only a couple of hours of studying.

7. Pick the right environment

Pick a quiet place where you won’t be bothered too much. You don’t want to have a distraction every five minutes. Know where everything is, so you don’t have to waste time searching for things. Have water and snacks readily available. Turn your phone on vibrate, and maybe put on some quiet classical music and study the night away.

6. Don’t stress

Stress increases anxiety and will decrease your performance. You don’t want to put yourself in a negative frame of mind, because it’s not conducive to studying. Take a few breaths and realize in the grand scheme of things, this round of finals really isn’t that big of a deal. The bottom line is, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t ace all your finals, so just chill out and relax.

5. Exercise

If studying has got you down, exercising is a good way to get your mind off things. Don’t immediately discount exercising if you don’t have a gym membership. It really is very easy. Get on the floor and knock out some push-ups. Grab your backpack and pump it up in the air a few dozen times. If you can, go for a run. Listen to music to help pass the time. Or, if you’re feeling a little lazy, take a walk. Look around at your surroundings while you walk. The trees, colors, cars and people; this will help relax your mind for when you return to your books, and it’s very healthy for you.

4. Use the resources around you

Many courses at UMKC offer SI (supplemental instruction).

“SI sessions are facilitated by an SI Leader, a student who has already taken the course and done well in it,” according to

Why not check it out? There’s nothing to lose by talking to someone who’s gone through the exact same thing you are. For a list of classes that offer SI’s, go to

Also, the Math and Science Resource Center is available if you’re having trouble studying. Tutors are available, and no appointments are needed. For times and info, go to

Of course, if neither of these ideas sound interesting, and you still need help, just call your friends, and form your own study group.

3. Eating and drinking

When you take a food break, it’s very important to make sure you’re reaching for the right kind of food. Fruits, veggies and nuts are a great choice for snacks. When you’re ready for lunch or dinner, carbs will keep your energy up, so cook up some brown rice or some whole-grain spaghetti with a veggie-rich marinara sauce. If you have a sweet tooth, grab some dark chocolate. It’s rich in antioxidants, and is one of the healthier candy choices.

No college student wants to hear this, but as far as beverages go, stay away from coffee and energy drinks. They will dehydrate you, and staying hydrated will actually give you more energy. Stick with water or juices, and drink lots.

2. Sleep

Every college student’s’ nemesis. There never seems to be enough time to sleep. Some people think they can pull an all-nighter before the big test and do very well. In reality, studies have shown lack of sleep can severely lower test scores. WebMD says “most adults need seven to eight hours a night.” So clear your schedule during finals week, and try to get as much sleep as you can.

1. Don’t procrastinate

You keep putting off studying, thinking you’ll do it later, and all of a sudden, finals are staring you in the face. Cramming the night before or just minutes before your professor passes out the exam may help slightly, but pales in comparison to the benefits of long-term studying. When you study in advance, your brain has a greater opportunity to soak up, store and recall knowledge.

Do yourself and your grades, a favor and start studying now, because before you know it, holiday break will be upon us and finals will be nothing but a shadow in your rear-view mirror.

Good luck.

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