7 Things You Absolutely Need to Survive Finals

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Ugh. Finals week. You may not be able to hear it, but we’re screaming on the inside, just like you. This is the lead-up to the absolute worst part of the year.

But Finals don’t have to make us a big ball of anxiety. The best way to ace them all is by going in prepared. Studying, of course, is key, but so are these seven essentials you’ll need to survive Finals Week. Here are the things we’re counting on to get us through:

 

  1. A Refillable Water Bottle

Why did it take us so long to realize that water is really magical and restorative? It makes our skin glow, helps maintain weight, and wakes us up when caffeine won’t do the trick. Water is also the perfect study partner as drinking the right amount (divide your body weight in half and drink that in ounces), makes you both more alert and improves your memory.

  1. Awesome Treats

Healthy snacks with loads of protein are an absolutely essential part of keeping our brains focused. Think nuts and berries or granola bars and protein packs. But of course, we’re also sneaking in some snack time too. After all that studying, we deserve a break to munch on some goodies from a Finals Week care package.

  1. Perfect Pillow

Sleep is a must. While we might be tempted to pull an all-nighter or two, studies have shown that a lack of sleep can actually hurt come test day. Being tired means less focus and a higher chance of forgetting basic facts and figures. Increasing sleep time is essential, so we plan on making our bed an oasis with high-quality pillows, bed linens, face masks, sound machines, and maybe even a pair of noise canceling headphones.

  1. Extra Supplies

Hello highlighters! You’re are our new best friend for the week. Add in pencils, extra batteries for our graphing calculator, supplies for the art portfolio, sticky notes, and flashcards… woah. Our office supplies run just went crazy, but it’s all worth it to have everything we need at our fingertips for long, intense study sessions.

  1. Ultimate Study Spot

Where you study matters just as much as how long you study. The library is always a good choice just because of the regulated silence. But the library is often a central location, and we prefer to not be distracted by a friend or a crush. Instead, take your studying outdoors, when possible. The sunlight can help you stay awake and fresh air can change up your mood.

  1. Support System

If your friends and family don’t already know, make sure you tell them you’re gearing up for finals week. Have a friend call every other day to check in on you and motivate you to keep going. Let mom and dad know you might not be reachable. And ask them to keep conversations light and fun instead of harp on you about exams and grades. The less stress you have from your inner circle, the better.

  1. Empty Social Calendar

The support system rule also applies to your friends on campus. While your bestie may be riding high with a 4.0 average and no worries for their finals, you can’t let them get in the way of the work you need to do. Clear your calendar, cancel your fraternity functions, and turn your phone on “do not disturb.” You’ll survive for a week while you gear up to rock your final exams.

7 Tips on Studying for Finals

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Are you overwhelmed by how many Spanish terms you have to study for? Maybe cramming a day before your next project is due or rereading the same chapter multiple times to no avail? I know I am stressing right before finals. If you’re also feeling overwhelmed by a huge pile of books, notecards and Red Bull, keep reading for some helpful tips to study for this upcoming finals week!

1. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE- Start studying like I did at least a week before.


2. MAKE FLASHCARDS– Whether it’s Spanish, French, the Revolutionary War, or learning about muscles, make flash cards…It will make your life 10 times easier

3. QUIZLET– If flashcards aren’t your thing, try online websites such as Quizlet, which can give you tests, flip flash cards for you or give you a few learning games!

4. MAKE AN EFFORT-I know sitting in the library from 10 am until 4 o’clock is rough, but try and do it because is the last week…make it count.

5. HAVE A STUDY BUDDY- Whether it is your best friend, classmate or big in your sorority, sit down with them and do homework together. The two of you can take a break, but they can also tell you when to get back to work and when you have been on your phone too long!


6. IT’S OKAY TO TAKE A BREAK- It’s not okay to binge watch Netflix, but a ten-minute break here and then won’t kill you.
7. MAKE THE LIBRARY YOUR BEST FRIEND- Library, School of Business, Engineering Building; whatever it is, get comfy because that just became your new home for the next week.
Hope you use these helpful tips!!! Good luck with finals everyone!!!!

Surviving College Finals Week Madness

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Finals week is known for the anxiety it provokes: hyperventilating in a library study room, binging on junk food, getting very little sleep, and so on. However, suffering through final exams and papers doesn’t mean we have to let go of our health and sanity. Making thoughtful, health-centered decisions can actually help you perform better on your exams and lessen your test anxiety. Here are some simple steps you can take today.

 

1. Load Up Your Pantry

Healthy food and meals means not crashing on coffee and junk food or dealing with stomach pains during your exam. Load up on servings of fruits and veggies. Bring fruit bars, soups, and whole wheat snacks to your study room. And don’t forget to hydrate! Water is important for keeping up your energy.

 

2. Take Your Vitamins

If you’re stuck with cafeteria options only, a vitamin can ensure you’re getting a dose of what you need. Some good brain-boosting vitamins are D3 (which are also great if you’re indoors during darker nights), folic acid for memory, and B-complex to help reduce stress. If you’re having trouble sleeping, go for all-natural melatonin instead of sleep aids.  

 

3. Take Advantage of De-Stress Perks

Most likely, your college offers fun ways to de-stress during finals. Some popular ideas include cuddling with therapy dogs, getting a 10-minute massage, taking a yoga class, or learning basic meditations. You can even see if they provide nap rooms or dark spaces if you’re a commuter in need of a nap.

 

4. Find Time for Breaks

Breaks are important for retaining information and lowering pressure. One method you can use is called the Pomodoro Technique. Study or work for 20 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. Use your phone’s timer to keep you on track. And you’re easily distracted, use extensions to your browser that ban you from sites like Facebook for a period of time.  

 

5. Keep Up Your Gym Routine

Make time to sweat! It helps clear your mind and recoup from a long day of test-taking. Plus, working out can help keep your immune system running. Another reason to get your morning run in is that routines like this can help you ease stress and give you the sense that today’s just another day, even if there’s a test at the end of it.

 

6. Reward Yourself With Self-Care

Who says your only reward for surviving finals should be your grade? Save up for finals week and enjoy your favorite restaurant with friends or get a manicure or pedicure. Space out your rewards so that you are motivated to stay on track. By picking relaxing rewards, you do double duty in following through and keeping your anxiety at a low.

 

7. Check-In With Loved Ones

If the stress is too much, don’t just carry it on your back for the entire week. Schedule a call to someone you love and trust to get your vent time in. By talking through your worries or problems, you may be able to see the solution that wasn’t there before. Reaffirming that you have someone who loves and supports you no matter what will help you survive college final week madness with your friends and family seeing you through.

 

The Only Way to Survive Finals Week

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Whether you just finished your finals or are still in the middle of it, finals week never seems to get any easier as the years go by. However, you do find little things you can do here and there to make the process just a little more bearable for yourself. That being said, here are the five MUST DO things to get you through finals week!

1.) Keep your first aid kit on hand.

No, I don’t think you should be expecting to sprain an ankle anytime soon. But it’s never a bad idea to keep some Emergen-C, Ibuprofen, and cold medicine on hand! It’s the time of year that everyone is run down and spreading around their plagues. Fight it and stay alert and healthy for all those exams!

2.) Don’t pull all-nighters studying.

You might not want to stop when you’re on a roll with those flash cards into the late hours of the evening, but there comes a point when your body and mind are much better off getting some rest and restoring for the next day. You might feel like you’re getting a lot done by powering through the night, but it’s not worth it to be completely useless the next day as a result.

3.) Plan out your week. don't even have a pla gif

With no classes going on, your schedule might feel pretty skewed for the week. It’s important to make sure you’re mapping out what you need to get done each day to avoid getting off track or wasting time.

4.) Find your spot. reading donnie darko

An optimal study spot is key to your productivity during finals week. Finding a spot that’s crowd-free, quiet, and isolated from other goings-on about campus is crucial. This will keep you focused on the tasks at hand and prevent distraction and temptation.

5.) Take a break.

What might be even more important than studying itself is knowing to take a break every now and then. Every few hours or so, make sure you’re getting up, moving around, and redirecting your mind to something else for a bit. You’ll avoid burnout and you’ll be able to return to studying afterward with new motivation and a clear head.

How do you get through finals week? Best of luck to all, and to all a fantastic summer break!

Parent’s Corner: 5 Fun Care Packages for Finals

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Your favorite college student is almost finished with fall semester. Just a couple more exams, and they’ll be out the door and officially on break! But what many parents and loved ones don’t understand is that those exams aren’t just any old exam. They are actually some of the most challenging tests your college student will ever undergo, and this causes stress, fatigue, and burnout.

Instead of just sending warm words of love (which are indeed needed), you can also ensure that they are getting a little bit of fun in their lives as well with a creative care package. Personalized to what they love, these options will put a smile on their face and help them power through to the final question.

1.   Winter Wonderland Holiday Gift Basket

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The snow is falling, the temperature’s dropping, and all around the United States, students are stuck inside studying. It certainly takes the beauty out of the season! But you can make them fall in love with winter all over again with a Winter Wonderland Holiday Gift Basket. There’s chocolate wafer bites, Lindor truffles, and sea salt caramel and chocolate squares to munch on and remind them just how awesome the winter break is going to be (after they ace their exams)!

2.   New England Breakfast Gift Basket

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If your college student lives on their own or has access to a kitchen instead of a cafeteria, it can be hard to worry over if they are starting their mornings off with a filling breakfast. After all, it is the most important meal of the day for a reason, and it certainly shouldn’t be neglected on the day of finals. The New England Breakfast Gift Basket is a treat for them to share with roommates and friends. Complete with pancake mix, New Hampshire maple syrup, and even locally grown fruit!

3.   Snack Break Gift Basket

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If your student is dedicated to their studies, they’re probably neglecting their most essential needs such as sleeping and eating. But you can send them a reminder to fill that mind and the stomach with the Snack Break Gift Basket. It comes with organic snacking staples such as kettle corn and even protein packed trail mix.

4.   Tea and Cookies Gift Basket

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With winter bringing in the chill, your college student will love a bit of warmth sent their way. This tea and cookie basket is carefully curated to include winter favorites such as Earl Gray tea with organic clover honey sticks. And when drinks are not enough, they can indulge on decadent chocolate butter cookie brittle or classic sugar cookies.

5.   Popcorn and Sweets Tin

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Okay, it isn’t a care package, exactly. But college students LOVE popcorn, especially when it’s mixed with candy and sweets. But this tin is not just your grandmother’s favorite blend of stale popcorn. Your college student will love testing innovative flavors such as brown sugar and honey mustard popcorn. With favorite candy like Atomic Fireballs adding even more fun, they’ll dig the options. And even better, they’ll have enough to share with their roommates and study pals!

Our 6 Favorite Fall Finals Care Package Gifts

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No one wants to talk about it, but finals are coming up quickly! If you have a child, friend, or partner studying hard to make it to the finish line, you may want to encourage or reward them for all their work this semester. One of the best ways to treat them is by sending a care package that will power them through their long study sessions and note cramming, while reminding them that they are in your thoughts. Here’s a few of our favorite Fall final exams themed care packages that will make your favorite student say wow:

1.   The Survival Kits

For many college students, but in particular freshmen, surviving the final exam period is all about powering through it. On top of the time commitment it takes to study up on everything learned over a course of the semester, there’s the added pressure of needing a great grade. That’s a lot for students who may not be used to tests mattering so much for their future.

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For parents and friends watching from afar, you can ensure that their study sessions are jam-packed with the treats and drinks they need. If you really want to impress, check out the Final Exams Survival Barrel. It’s a fun twist on the care package!

2.   The Warm-Up

We can’t forget that it’s also the middle of winter when students are taking their exams. And going back and forth from lecture hall, to dorm room, to library can get chilly. With hot food options limited and students constantly catching weather related illnesses like colds and flus, you may want to find a package that does double duty!

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The Healthy Hot Soups and Teas collection is the perfect winter blend. The soups are easy to make for practically any college students. And tea lovers will enjoy the different blends such as Spice Yogi Tea and Honey Lavender Yogi Tea.

3.   The Healthy Choice

Speaking of healthy hot soups, how about a care package that takes into consideration special diets or dietary restrictions?

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There’s the Simply Vegan that cuts out animal byproducts. The All Natural gives the best in organic treats you know any health nut will appreciate. And Hold the Gluten takes out the guessing game in what gluten intolerant students cannot have.

4.   The Get Up and Go

If your student is looking to avoid packing the Freshman 15, you’ll want to consider this while planning their fall finals gift options. After all, nothing’s worse than spoiling a great workout with bad-for-you treats. For those looking to stay true to their diet, check out the Holy Granola which contains enough healthy treats to get them through a power hour of studying.

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Granola is a great morning snack, perfect for exam day. But for those who want something fresher, try gifts such as the Fruit Pack or the Fruit Pack and Cup of Inspiration. Your exam taker will be wowed by the breakfast of apples, oranges, and cereal. And they will love to celebrate their victory with some more indulging treats like Kit Kats and Nutella spread.

5.   The Good Luck Spirit

For all of the care packages, you can personalize a note that tells the receiver how much you are rooting for them. But much of the time, we think these gifts speak for themselves. For example the Spirit Pack combines all of the awesomeness of our favorite packages plus a box that is beautifully designed with an inspiring message. The Support Pack, Hang in There, and Right on Track are even more favorites that puts a whole lot of fun and encouragement in such a cute box.

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With the right care package sent directly to your college student, you can show them just how proud they make you every day. And you can give them a bit of encouragement and support from afar. With so many options, there’s one for just about every fall exam-taker!

7 Tips to Prepare for Your Finals

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Now that November is here, you probably have your mind set on the upcoming winter break. But it is important to remember that you have one major hurdle to get over before you head home — final exams. While you may not be up to studying just yet, there are some easy, low stress ways to prepare for finals with a month to spare.

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1.   Review Your Grades

Here’s a secret you may not realize: you may not need to put as much pressure on final exams as you think you do. For students with solid, high grades, a professor’s grading system may mean that a final grade will not affect them significantly. To see if this applies to you, do the math by looking at your grade percentage and then measuring it up with how much your final is weighted. If you’re unsure, check with a professor or TA. On the other hand, if you are struggling with your grade, you may want to check in with your professor to find out what grade you will need to get on the final to pass or improve a letter.

2.   Check Your Syllabus

Your syllabus is most likely set up so that the professor has already highlighted the main lesson points. Go through and make a list of all the major lessons, along with any important documents you have read. This will help guide your studying.

3.   Review Previous Exams

Your final exams work just like your syllabus. If your final is a cumulation of what you have learned, the professor will most likely draw up questions similar to the ones you have already answered on tests or exams. Make note of where you struggled and where you may not need to put much effort in and mark that on the syllabus.

4.   Re-Outline Your Notes

Now that you have your syllabus marked and your tests noted, use it to re-outline your notes. Cut out items that are not on the syllabus or items that you were not using on exams. If it helps, type it all out so that you have a condensed version at your fingertips you can refer to.

5.   Set Up a Review Schedule

Looking over your notes, you may be getting a sense of how much or how little you need to study. Plan out a schedule so you are reviewing the lessons you know well first while you spend the most significant chunk of time re-learning the things in which you struggled with. Using a calendar, write down the lessons or notes reference so you can make study goals each day or week.

6.   Check-In with Extra Help

Speaking of extra help, a month out is still enough time to contact a tutor or TA to help you out. But you have to be proactive. A graduate student, someone who has aced the class before, or even the professor will be able to offer one-on-one help. You just have to reach out first.

7.   Plan Out the Week and Day-Of

Finally, clear your calendar for the week of finals. Avoid parties or distractions like trips out or dinner dates with friends. On the day-of each exam, set aside some funds to grab some coffee or to chow down on your favorite, comforting meal. You can always celebrate on Friday when your pencil is down and your test is turned in!

Study Session Must-Haves in College

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With midterms right around the corner, classes are starting to pick up, the stakes have gotten a little bit higher, and you’re probably getting a lot less sleep!

Needless to say, this time of year can be very stressful for most college students, and studying for an exam can put on the pressure. However, with a few key items in your bag on every trip to the library, you can make those study sessions much easier on yourself!

1.) Your water bottle

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There’s a good chance if you’re locking down for a study session, you might be there for several hours. You don’t want to get stuck without any water! Staying well is imperative- both for the sake of studying and for getting through your exams. Keeping your water bottle with you at all times ensures that you’re taking care of yourself while you study. Stay hydrated!

2.) Snacks!

1101p28-best-granola-bars-xAlong the same lines, you’re not fully prepared to lock down for a 2-3 hour study session without a few snacks to keep you going! After a little while, you’ll reach that burnt-out point. Trying to study through the fog won’t do you much good from there, so take a 15-20 minute break every hour or so. Grabbing a small, healthy snack in that time is a great way to re-energize and stay motivated.

3.) Earphones

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Maybe you’re the kind of person who studies best with music in the background. Maybe you have a clip you need to analyze for a film class, or maybe you’re seeking the help of a few instructional videos for your Chemistry studying. Regardless of the reason, it’s always a good idea to have a pair of headphones on hand just in case. The last thing you want to do is annoy everyone around you in the library by blasting a video out of your laptop speakers!

4.) Whiteboard Markers

WIS1061Sometimes a change of scenery can do you good…if you’re starting to get a little burnt out drawing those chemical structures in your notebook, try switching to the whiteboard (if you’re studying in a classroom). Having whiteboard markers on hand is also good for some creative cleansing during a break! Doodle away!

5.) A Mini-Stapler

stadinstamin368cWhether you’re printing out several pages worth of study guides, essays, maps, etc…you want to make sure you’re keeping everything separated and organized. Keeping a mini-stapler in your backpack will ensure that you’ll never have to go shoving all those loose papers away until you can staple everything in class the day it’s due.

Good luck, and happy studying!

What’s always in your bag on a trip to the library?

Finals? Oof. We’ve Got Tips!

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Take it from someone who feels your pain – finals are never a fun time. But, they’re a necessary evil and they DON’T have to be so bad. I know what you’re thinking… “how are finals ever NOT so bad?” I’m with you, but if you have to take them, at least make it easier on yourself by preparing the right way and getting all of your ducks in order before you brave the storm at 8 am.

The days of finals have evolved, for some. Depending on what your strong points are in test taking, you may perform better with different types of tests. In my recent experience, gone are the days of scantrons and fill-in-the-bubbles, and born are the days of 20 page essays and thorough analysis’. As a Communications major with a knack for writing, I’d prefer the second option. For people that aren’t fond of writing or have trouble organizing their thoughts in essay format, scantrons and fill in the blank tests are sometimes more comfortable. Whichever test style you like better, or have to take, we’ve got a few tips to help you stay focused and prepare efficiently.

Scantrons: Essay questions allow you to elaborate on your understanding of the given material. You can use examples, quotes, and if allowed, references from your book or notes. With a scantron test, you have to pick from 4 (sometimes 5) preset answers. Sometimes, the answers provided are tricky. For someone with super test anxiety, scantrons always have me second guessing myself. Not to mention, accidentally missing a row and answering 50 questions wrong if you skipped a row.

Here’s how to prepare: This seems like a no brainer, but know your material. Usually, if you study your notes and your course material thoroughly, you’ll be surprised how many questions on the test will look familiar to you. When you’re confident in your knowledge of what’s being covered there’s a lower chance that you’ll pick the wrong ‘trick answer’. Even when it comes down to answers that are just ONE word off, separated by an ‘and’ or ‘or’, you’ll be prepared to pick the right one. If you aren’t sure about a question, skip it and come back to it later. Sometimes while you’re answering other questions, you’ll remember an answer to another. AND, sometimes the answers to earlier questions even present themselves in later test questions. Don’t rush yourself. If you have the extra time, take it. Double check, then check again.

Fill In The Blanks or Short Answer Questions: When you’re filling in the blanks, make sure that you’ve explored every possible solution before hastily guessing. You may be overwhelmed with all of those blank spaces staring back up at you, but don’t be intimidated. To give yourself more confidence, jump to the questions you know first. Once you feel good about knowing the material and you see your handwriting filling up all of those blank spots the rest will just flow. If there’s a few you don’t remember, don’t freak out. Like the scantron tips, try to read the rest of the questions and see if it can spark you to remember the ones you forgot. If that doesn’t work, flip the test over or on a piece of scrap paper write the term down and start stemming the first ideas that spring to mind. Doing this helps to trigger your recollection mechanisms that might help you get closer to the right answer.

Here’s How to Prepare: Since fill in the blanks and short answer questions require you to recall not only the subject matter but the details about it too, it might be helpful for you to study with note cards. Have a friend or your roommate quiz you on the material by writing the term/subject on the front of the card, and bullet notes about it on the back. This is different than just skimming over the topic in your book or notes because it makes you actually have to remember different details about each card. Have your roommate place the cards you got wrong into a separate pile to re-visit when you’re done with the first stack. To switch it up a little, have your quizzer switch between reading the bullets and the front of the card so you can practice recalling both.

Long Essays: I prefer long essays because I feel they help me best explain my knowledge of the subject matter and allow me to back up my reasoning with examples. However, even though I feel comfortable writing essays, I still freak out a little bit every time I see one on a test. It’s often intimidating to see all of the subquestions you have to answer within an essay question, and then worry about how you’re going to make it all flow together. Always remember that when writing an essay, you should always start with an introduction, body copy + supporting examples and details, and then a conclusion paragraph. If you’re introducing three main points or examples in your essay, try to break them up into separate paragraphs. This allows your reader to pay the proper attention to each example and then move onto the next after they’ve grasped the concept. Try not to jump around between ideas throughout your paper. Remember, fluidity is what makes your paper read smoothly and helps your reader understand your purpose. If you’re a little freaked out about how you’re going to structure your essay, read the bullet points in the essay question and start answering them from there. Try to connect them with thoughts and transitions to make them flow together.

Here’s How to Prepare: Most of the time, your professor will give you a heads up on the material you need to have down pat before you go into take the test (or even take it remotely). Don’t take this lightly. They are telling you this for a reason, aka it’s going to be one of your essay questions. Scan your book, your notes and any presentations or online files that your professor gives you access to. Start writing each subject down in your notebook and immediately start organizing bullet points or key points underneath it. When you’re done, start making an outline for each topic by organizing the bullet points into corresponding sections or ideas. This will help you create a balance and will help you recall the subject matter when it comes to test time.

Have any more tips you’d like to share? Comment below or tweet them to us at @OcmonCampus! What tests do you prefer to take, why?

Good luck to you on finals!