Published: Nov. 12, 2019
Student studying on campus

Finals are coming, and now is a great time to get organized and prepared. While the thought of finals may feel overwhelming, you can set yourself up for success with the right strategies. Here are some tips to help you finish the semester strong.

Get organized

Look at your syllabi and note important dates for deadlines or exams the rest of the semester. This will help you become familiar with your workload leading up to finals. Use a calendar or planner to map out these dates and block off study periods.

Prioritize your projects, papers, labs and exams based on deadlines. Make projects and studying more manageable by breaking them down into smaller steps. Write down each individual task in your planner on the dates you will do them.

Plan a strategy

As you get organized, consider what successful studying looks like for you:

  • Do you concentrate best when there’s complete silence or some background noise?
  • Are you more mentally sharp at a certain point in the day (early mornings or evenings)?
  • Are you more of a visual learner or do you learn best by reading/writing?
  • Is it helpful to study with a friend or two, or do you study best on your own?

Knowing how you study best and finding the perfect study spot can help you feel prepared for finals.

Resources for managing stress

SilverCloud online health program
Take charge and manage your emotional health and well-being with SilverCloud Health, an online tool that provides personalized programs to help build skills around stress management, anxiety and depression.

Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
CAPS offers confidential, on-campus mental health and psychiatric services for a variety of concerns such as academics, anxiety, body image, depression, relationships, substance use and more.

CAPS workshops
CAPS offers educational workshops designed to provide valuable information and insight to students on a variety of topics and can be a great option to address a variety of needs. All workshops are free and confidential. Students do not need to be a CAPS client or complete CAPS paperwork to attend. Call CAPS at 303-492-2277 to sign up.

Take breaks

It can be tempting to pull an all-nighter to get things done, but this can be more harmful than helpful in the end since sleep is so vital for memory. Take short breaks during study sessions (five-minute break for every 25 minutes of studying) to give your brain a rest. You can take a quick walk, stretch or watch a funny video.

Staying hydrated and eating regular meals and snacks are also important for maintaining energy and focus.

Avoid cutting corners

Even though it’s crunch time, avoid cutting corners with your work. Failing to properly cite a source or asking a friend to help out with your work may not seem like a big deal at the time. But these actions and any form of academic dishonesty are a violation the Honor Code and can have consequences.

Academic dishonesty is any act in which a student gains or attempts to gain an unfair academic advantage over other students. Examples of this include plagiarism and cheating. All CU Boulder students are subject to the Honor Code for academic matters, and students who violate the code may be subject to discipline.

Ask for help

There’s still time to ask for help if you are struggling with an assignment or subject.