The season that every student hates is here...Yesterday, I was walking home after studying on campus and I looked around the streets and realized, there was barely even a single soul walking around Campus, or the city of Waterloo as a matter of fact. It's a really eery feeling, but realistically, every study carrel, library seat and Starbucks location is packed with students because believe it or not, it's Finals Week (which is actually two weeks here at Waterloo). Don't panic! I have here for you everything you should know when studying for exams.

Surviving Finals Week | Le Northern Belle

Study Tips

When it comes to studying, my major tip for you is that you turn off or get rid of all distractions. Whether that means either turning your cell phone on to "Do Not Disturb" mode (which is pretty much silent mode, but if you get a repeat caller, it'll let the second phone call through) or going into a study room on campus so your friends can't deter you from studying. If all your notes are handwritten, then these two tips should be more than enough to ensure that you keep on track with studying, but if you're like me, all your notes on your computer...which has you see where I'm going with this? Websites like Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube are literally a click away and even though you tell yourself its only for 10 minutes, you look at the clock and its been an hour. The best way to ensure that you only stay on these sites for that designated amount of time is to get a website time-blocking app, like ColdTurkey for Macs. This app allows you to block out periods of time in which you cannot access the website you're trying to block (Be truthful and block out any site that you might accidentally go on during your designated study time)

I also highly recommend taking a break periodically during your study time. Every student studies differently, so pick a time interval that works best for you. Me personally, I like to go 1 and 10 -- so for every hour of studying, I get a 10 minute break. In that time, I'll go grab a snack, walk around, chat with friends, or go on social media. Luckily with the time blocking app, I can schedule the block to go back up exactly 10 minutes later. Whatever your break time is, make sure to use it because it'll kind of reenergize you and help avoid burnout.

Working Out

I know with so many classes to study for, it may be difficult to give up time to go and workout, but trust me it makes a big difference. During finals, I feel like students are waking up, studying, going back to sleep and repeating that day after day. This definitely takes a toll on your body and therefore your begins to perform at a level that is less than it's best. Working out and getting your heart rate up, even if its just for 30 minutes can help in making sure that your body performs at its best and for me, it combats the sluggish feeling I sometimes get from sitting in the same place for days on end. It also allows for a change of scenery, which I find to be uplifting.

Eating Right

This also may be difficult to do, but you're body will thank you for feeding it the right foods. When it comes to Finals, the quote "you are what you eat" has never been a more true statement. Pretty much if you feed yourself junk-y food, you're body will respond less optimally, than if you were to feed it a nutritious and more balanced diet. I'm not saying don't eat pizza or burgers, I would be a hypocrite if I did say that, but have an apple or a salad every now and then to even it out. Your body will reward you by not feeling so fatigued all the time.


With my sleeping habits, especially during Finals, if I don't get the full 7-8 hours of sleep, I'll either snooze and over sleep, or will get no productive work done. Pulling all nighters is so detrimental to your cognitive function and trust me, at a certain point, even if you think you're studying, your brain will dump that information out by the next day. Your brain needs time to analyze and process the information you're studying, so giving it no break to rest will have negative consequences on your ability to test. If you are cramped for time and make the executive decision to pull an all-nighter, I highly suggest taking a power nap, about 30 minutes to an max hour every 3-4 hours. This is just so your brain and body has some kind of rest time. Preferably take this name in a chair or somewhere not your bed, to avoid actually going into sleep. Also avoid drinking copious amounts of caffeine when doing an all-nighter, because once that caffeine metabolizes out of your bod, that caffeine withdrawal will be horrible to deal with. (Re: the worst headache and mental fatigue you have ever experienced)

With all that said, go forth and study for your finals with these tips and mind. Good luck to all of you! I know you'll all do amazing on your tests.

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