Asking for a Friend: Preparing for Finals

By Dulce Martinez

Staff Writer

As colleges across the United States slowly return to a state of “normalcy” in the aftermath of COVID-19, there is one aspect that still brings dread to college students: finals. 

With finals just around the corner, one student expressed her personal game plan for approaching her final exams. 

“I’m trying to get everything done so I can focus solely on finals,” said Giselle Martinez, a sophomore psychology and criminal justice double major, via Instagram DM.

Are finals rigorous? Yes. Do we find ourselves racing against the clock to manage final deadlines while simultaneously studying for exams? Yes again. Now that most courses at Fairleigh Dickinson were in-person for the fall semester, this means we are doomed to suffer in misery for the return of in-person finals… right?

Wrong. Finals––whether they are exams, projects, presentations, etc.––do not have to be a misery for college students. Whether your finals are in-person or online, here are some tips on how to power through this testing season.

  1. ORGANIZATION IS KEY. Be organized with final exam dates and create a schedule. The McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning recommends that students create a game plan when preparing for finals. This means writing down important dates, notes, etc.
  2. BE REALISTIC. You should be honest with yourself about how you plan to use your study days. It makes no sense to create a study schedule for finals and NOT stick with it.
  3. NEVER CRAM. The worst thing a college student can do is cram the material. Cramming leads to MORE stress and does more harm than good: you will NOT recall as much information from a cram session.
  4. STUDY AIDS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND. If your professor allows you to use a “cheat sheet” during your final, great! If not, you can still create visual study aids that can help you retain/recall the necessary material. These study aids are beneficial because they are catered to YOUR learning style––everybody learns differently!
  5. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT SELF-CARE. It is important that you NOT overwhelm yourself. Incorporate short-term breaks in your study schedule that include activities that you enjoy. Watch an episode on Netflix, indulge in a piece of candy, practice yoga, etc. Reward yourself! 
  6. DO NOT FORGET TO SLEEP. Enjoy the full benefits of a good night’s rest. DO NOT PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER. Your academic performance during finals RELIES on sleep. Your brain will thank you for allowing yourself to get adequate rest during finals week!
  7. TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. You are NOT alone. If possible, create a study group (in-person or virtual) with close friends and classmates. Aside from gaining insight from other perspectives, you will gain further motivation to power through finals week!
  8. JUST BREATHE. It’s OKAY to feel anxious during finals week. Everybody experiences that feeling. Yes, finals are overwhelming because they are critical to final grades. Take a few minutes to perform breathing exercises by inhaling and exhaling for around five seconds each. Whether you are studying or taking a final exam online/in-person, it is ALWAYS important to breathe!
  9. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ON-CAMPUS RESOURCES. Several on-campus resources can help students as they approach finals season. For honors students, the Honors Lounge (located in Robison Hall room 37) will become available during finals between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm. The Frank Giovatto Library released its extended study hours for students via Instagram. The schedule is also listed below:

December 6th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

December 7th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

December 8th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

December 9th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

December 10th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

December 11th: 10:00 am – 12:00 am

December 12th: 2:00 pm – 12:00 am

December 13th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

December 14th: 8:00 am – 12:00 am

Good luck to everybody with their finals… you got this!

Please follow us on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Write to us at

 Final exams do not have to be a misery for college students.

Art by Dulce Martinez