Managing time during finals prep (specifically regarding breaks)

Dandine

7+ Year Member
Apr 23, 2012
320
154
Status
Medical Student
I am expecting finals week and the week before it to be very heavy for me, and I need to be kept as sane and as energetically well as possible during then as I need to keep my focus. However, I'm also worried that I'll feel the need to take too many breaks and end up being really unproductive.

Anyone have any tips as to managing time during finals, specifically regarding taking breaks? For example, did you schedule time in to do something interesting or just went with whatever you happened to have during the day/week? Would really appreciate any feedback!
 

The_Bird

SDN Bronze Donor
Bronze Donor
7+ Year Member
Jun 26, 2011
7,770
9,318
Status
Medical Student
I would recommend spending as much time as possible in an environment where you can study and work most efficiently. For me, that is alone at home or at the school library. At this crucial time I would recommend scheduling your work, not down to the minute but more along the lines of "this is what I will complete in this time frame and then move on to this." As far as breaks, take them when you need to but remember not to get bogged down watching TV or whatever you choose to do because time may fly if you loose track of it. You only have a little bit of time left in the semester so charge ahead full steam and keep the energy up. You can sleep in the morning after your last final. Good luck!
 

Pacna

Dyslexics, untie!
Jun 2, 2013
2,017
2,251
MN
Status
Medical Student
Honestly, this is how I did it every time: Make 100% new notes for all classes on everything I need to know. This would take ~3 days per class.

Then during finals week (if I had an exam Monday I'd have been studying only for that all weekend), do practice exams from the prof's banks or obtained from online.

???

Profit.

There was never a question of breaks. When I thought there was nothing more I could learn I would play NHL to burn time until exam time. Rest when it's done. Sanity is for the weak.
 
Dec 3, 2011
1,071
93
"The Library"
Status
Pre-Medical
I usually wake up early (about 7am) and go to bed early (about 11pm) so that I'm always well rested. I find that if I'm taking a lot of breaks, it's because I'm tired, not because I need a break. I prefer to study in the library in a room with windows and a lot of natural light, which helps me stay focused and feel less cooped up. As far as breaks go, I get up and walk around/get food/etc at least once every 2 hours, and sometime in the middle of the day I'll go to the gym. One thing that might help is when taking breaks, do something active rather than checking your email or social media. You'll actually feel like you took a break rather than just be unproductive without giving your eyes a rest and you'll end up needing less breaks every day.
 
Mar 18, 2011
112
95
Status
Pre-Medical
What if all three of your hardest finals were on the same day - 30 minutes apart - and if that day was on the first day of finals. Organic chemsitry, physics, and physics lab (yes-there is a regular final exam in the lab). Classes end Friday 12/13 (ummm great-Friday the 13th) and my finals are Monday 12/16. I am not sure what to do or how to handle that.
 
Dec 3, 2011
1,071
93
"The Library"
Status
Pre-Medical
What if all three of your hardest finals were on the same day - 30 minutes apart - and if that day was on the first day of finals. Organic chemsitry, physics, and physics lab (yes-there is a regular final exam in the lab). Classes end Friday 12/13 (ummm great-Friday the 13th) and my finals are Monday 12/16. I am not sure what to do or how to handle that.
You have a couple of options:
1. Some schools have a policy that will allow you to reschedule one of your exams if you end up having 3 or more on the same day.
2. If you're close to any of those professors, or if they're nice, you can ask them if there's any possibility of taking the final on another day. There are usually a couple of kids anyways taking an exam at an alternate time due to exam time conflicts, and you could maybe hop in with them.
3. If 1 and 2 fail, then start reviewing concepts now. December 16th is still over two weeks away, so you've got time. If you have cumulative exams, use this time to brush up on concepts from the beginning of the term. For o-chem and physics make sure you can do (and understand) the hardest problems in the book. Go over old exams/quizzes. This week, ask your professors what concepts you should focus on for the final. They might be able to point you in the right direction regarding what types of questions will have more weight. During your 30-minute breaks on exam day, do NOT cram for the next exam. Do something relaxing to clear your mind and focus on the next exam.