English Major Perspectives: Tips for Finals Week

Written by JMU English Students, For JMU English Students


How to Survive and Thrive During Online Finals Week

So, you’ve been able to nail down the perfect online learning schedule for your classes, but, what about finals week? Finals week, no matter the location or timing can be pretty stressful for anyone in college. This semester, although is different in location, isn’t any less stressful. Many of you might be feeling added pressure because of this new routine. And the first thing to remember is that it’s alright to feel this way! Even though finals may be in a couple of weeks, it is important to plan and save yourself from any unwanted stress.

  • Start making flashcards now!

Some professors still require final exams depending on the type of class or general class size. Making flashcards or a Quizlet now will help in recalling information from the beginning of the semester and will help with any new information. Sticking to your normal studying routine will help refocus your brain into the mindset it was in before online learning.

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to classmates, professors, or TA’s

Your schoolwork may be entirely completed behind a screen, but that doesn't mean you can't have face to face contact with other students in your class. Reaching out to have office hours or review sessions can help solve any confusion in the subject matter or format of the final. Plus, your professors will appreciate questions because it helps them understand what needs to be reviewed before the actual test. Zoom, Facetime, or Skype are all great resources to help during this time.

  • Utilize online grammar or spellcheck tools.

For Paper finals, online grammar tools help tremendously in picking up grammar and spelling errors you might have overlooked. Grammarly is very effective in making your writing clear and concise, plus, it's free! Even if you don't have anyone to review your paper for you, this is a great tool to ease the pressure off of you as a writer and will allow you to focus on content rather than grammar.

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Many students in college vary in their learning styles. When it comes to finals week, get creative in different ways to study. Draw diagrams, charts, and anything that is visually stimulating. This will allow your mind to absorb the information easier. This can also be done during lectures! Keep different colored pens and highlighters close by. This will not only keep you engaged during the lecture but will make it easier to remember the information if you associate it with something visual.

  • Remove yourself from a screen once in a while.

Computers and technology, in general, are amazing tools that allow us to study remotely without feeling disconnected from our professors. But, sometimes it is important to remove yourself from a screen. If you are writing a paper, plan out your main arguments by creating an outline on a sheet of paper. If studying for an exam, try to find a wipe-off board; these have been a lifesaver for me! Write down all the information you know that will be on the exam. That way, when you compare it to your notes, study guides, or lecture slides, you will be able to understand more easily what topics you need to focus on! A wipe-off board can also aid in memorization. By writing information repetitively—rather than typing—your brain will have an easier time recalling material if it is linked to muscle memory!

In the end, don’t get too stressed about finals. Although they are important, give yourself some slack when it comes to perfection; trust me, your professors understand how hard learning is during this time. And, if you do find yourself a bit stressed about finals, papers, or projects, hopefully these tips can help you feel a bit less overwhelmed.

Good luck during finals week, Dukes!

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Published: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Last Updated: Saturday, May 30, 2020

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