As we approach the end of the semester, we also come closer to the finals period. It is always wise to know what to expect from those two busy weeks in December, as well as how to handle them successfully. The following are some tips I have used, which you may consider when starting to prepare for finals. Hope you find them helpful!
1. Buy coffee!
With the coffee bar closed, this may be a real challenge. But worry not, the weekend before examination days start, you may consider going to Marktkauf to buy enough coffee for around 2 weeks. I always prefer having my own safe reserves, rather waste (useful!) time knocking on my friends’ doors to ask for coffee at the weirdest hours.
2. Food, Food, Food!
You will use a lot of energy when studying for finals, and will most probably get hungry during the time between lunch and dinner, and of course as it approaches midnight. While the Pulse is always an option for urgent midnight snacks, keep in mind that you have to go out of your warm room into the cold December air. Being too lazy for that, I always get fruit and cereal from the servery (or buy them at Marktkauf) and keep them in my room. Fruit will be the healthy option at a time when you will probably not pay too much attention to your meals, while cereal (also healthy!) will make you feel full, and prevent you from eating other unhealthy snacks.
3. Clean BEFORE finals
You certainly won’t be that focused on keeping your room tidy during Reading Days, so the best thing to do is to vacuum, clean, arrange your things, and do your laundry BEFORE they start. This way, you will be able to study in a neat environment and your brain will feel more relaxed.
4. Make a schedule
I tried this last semester after getting inspired from a friend and it worked perfectly. All you have to do is sit down the last day of classes before Reading Days start, look at your final exam schedule, come up with a schedule of which subject you will study when, and actually follow it! Last semester, I divided every day in intervals of 2 or 3 hours, and wrote down what I would study in those intervals. It’s always good to alternate, because your brain will be overloaded with material from the same course at some point. For example, I would study Financial Accounting from 1-3 and then Macroeconomics from 3-6. The day before a final however, you may want to dedicate most of/the whole day to that subject, so also keep that in mind when making the schedule. It’s also a good idea to make it color-coded, it will simply look much more appealing to follow.
5. Take breaks
Being efficient and concentrated during the Reading Days is important, but taking breaks is just as important. Having lunch and dinner for 30-45 mins with your friends in the servery is a good idea to spend some time away from your readings and exercises. Although you will most probably still talk to them about how productive (or not) you have been, and how difficult some of the chapters are, it will feel nice to get away from your room for a while. As a bonus, you get to complain to people who are going through the same situation as you, so you will be able to let out some of the frustration and stress, and hopefully feel more motivated.
6. Don’t forget your sleep!
It may sound unrealistic, but you should get 8 hours of sleep every day on average. It certainly depends on how many finals you have (last semester I only had 3, and actually managed to sleep 9 hours every day), but you should try to get 8 hours of sleep each day. If you follow the schedule you made beforehand, you will also manage to have proper sleeping patterns during finals.
And that’s it! Finals period is indeed a pretty hectic time of the semester, but I hope these tips may make it less so for you. The first semester is a bit of a trial and error period, where you will see what study plan work for you and what doesn’t. So no worries, by the second one, you will have come up with your own great tips!