How to Ace Finals During the Pandemic


With all the uncertainty in these times of COVID-19, final exams will be exceptionally tough.  

But it doesn’t have to be! Online finals are still finals, and The Equinox is here to give you some fast tips on how to own this (unusual) testing season. 

  1. Write down all the dates and times when your teachers announce them; make a chart of your final exam schedule.
  2. ALWAYS WRITE DOWN WHAT WILL BE ON THE EXAM! Review everything but definitely focus on the specific material teachers mentioned.
  3. Study a little every day, even if it’s for 10 minutes.
  4. Get enough sleep! You should never try to study when you’re tired or hungry. Hit the books once you’ve attended to your personal needs.
  5. Because we have online exams, if your teacher allows notes, take advantage, LOL.
  6. After you’ve looked at your final-exam schedule, make sure to prioritize what first needs to be studied/looked over. It’s easy to overwhelm yourself when there’s so much to do, but prioritizing is key and goes a long way. Take it one step at a time! 
  7. For last-minute studying: Give yourself at least 2-3 days in advance to study for a material. Three days is a good rule of thumb if you find yourself with a busy schedule, and don’t have a full week’s worth of time or more to study. 
  8. Use the Pomodoro Method. Depending on your learning style, try dedicating 30-minute intervals to studying and make sure to take at least 5- 10-minute social-media breaks before starting your new study block. Studies have shown that deactivating and reactivating work allows us to stay more focused.

Healthy Habits to Study By 

Now that you have the basic tips on how to ace finals, let’s go into more detail about healthy habits and practices during finals season. These tips will help from getting burnt out while studying and prepare for success on exam day.

  1. Study “twice” within 24 hours before an exam.
    • Study for an hour or two the night before an exam. 
    • Get a good night’s sleep and know what that means for you. Some people need less sleep to feel refreshed.
    • Wake up early to do some additional studying. Waking up between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. can be refreshing.
  2. Use brain foods for the exam.
    • Eat fish for dinner the night before, Omega-3 might help with brain productivity. Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli, may not be favorites, but they’re great when it comes to memory retention, in addition to boosting other vitamins and nutrients.

Alternatives to Boost Energy

For those who do not have the previous two items, one can always go the simpler route with these substitutes:

    • Nuts, walnuts and pumpkin seeds, specifically, can also improve your memory power and capacity.
    • Berries, especially blueberries, are known as brain food, too.
    • Dark chocolate can enhance memory and mood.
    • Coffee! The caffeine in coffee and tea will give you the short-term concentration boost that should be sufficient to help you get through your exam.

Don’t Give Up! More Helpful Final Tips 

Finally, here are a few tips to help during the exam and after. 

  1. During your final, remember to breathe mindfully, which will help with anxiety and nervousness.
  2. Also, when taking a final, chew gum. Chewing gum can help with breathing and concentration. Don’t smack!
  3. Take your time. Finals have a longer window for the optimal time to take the test.
  4. When you finish an exam, take a break before going back to studying. After all, you deserve it.
  5. Try not to stress about the final you just took, and focus on the future because that is what you have the power over. 

The Equinox wishes everyone luck this finals season!


20200506_111552_0000Graphic by Elizabeth Scalzo