Finals survival guide: 6 pro tips to rock the end of the semester
November 19, 2018
Zane Harding

Snowfall has returned to Ann Arbor, which means three things: low temperatures, the holiday season, and finals season.

You don’t have to be a student at the University of Michigan to understand the pressure of a big test, but if you are a Michigan student, you know very well that the last couple of weeks of a semester can be a lot.

As I write this on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I have 13 pages worth of essays, four Calc II WebWork sections, three chapters of Computer Science reading, and more Computer Science project work, all of which I must finish before Thanksgiving.

So, whether you’re a current or future Michigan student, heed this advice:


1. Take things one step at a time. Balancing multiple exams, projects, and/or essays is not easy. That said, if you can chip away at the work you must complete, you will feel less overwhelmed by having 3-5 daunting tasks in your way. You might have to put in a lot of work in a short span of time, but that’s what comes with being a student at one of the top universities in the world.


2. Make sure to take any practice exam you can get your hands on. It is one thing to know the curriculum, but you also must be able to apply your knowledge in a structured examination. Take as many practice exams as possible before you enter the exam room.


3. Projects are more often than not a group effort, so make sure to coordinate early and often with your group to ensure you don’t fall behind. Know your responsibilities within the project, too: you’re too busy to do somebody else’s portion of the work.


4. Brainstorm early and often to efficiently complete essays, as ideas are not always easy to come by. Essays can be knocked out pretty quickly once the writing really begins to flow. If you’re struggling to get an essay rolling, office hours are a fantastic place to brainstorm ideas with your professor.


5. Take plenty of breaks. All in all, finals season is just like the rest of the school year at a more intense level: you have to manage school, free time, and stress. During finals season, you have more school work and, in turn, more stress to deal with. Therefore, it’s important to remember that no matter what you are working on, schedule in breaks. s. Study for an hour, then take a short break, then study for another hour, then take a longer break. The longer you study, the longer your breaks ought to be.

6. Finally, don’t feel obligated to study 24/7 during finals season. You may see your friends studying for days at a time, but only you know how long you need to study. Take it a step at a time, put in your best effort, take your exams, and enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

Zane Harding

is a junior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts double-majoring in Data Science and English with a minor in Entrepreneurship. He first became passionate about writing when he helped found the Michigan Society for American Baseball Research (better known as M-SABR). Today, Zane writes for SB Nation's Bless You Boys covering the Detroit Tigers, in addition to writing for M-SABR and the newly-founded Michigan Football Analytics Society (better known as M-FANS).