Smart habits may prevent a finals week meltdown


Graphic by Kyle Pearson

By Bekah Frank
staff writer
[email protected]

As finals week approaches and students begin to stress, eat junk food, cram to study and lose sleep, Eastern will begin to look like a ghost town.

Many are feeling refreshed as they come back from the holiday break but are also starting to feel the anxiety of knowing that the biggest test of the quarter is coming up fast. Soon, seniors will participate in their last fall quarter of finals, and freshmen will encounter their first university finals week

There are many tips and tricks students should know before studying for finals week. “I study in groups,” said EWU sophomore Kaylee McGraw-Wright. “When I am alone, I tend to procrastinate.” McGraw-Wright said she tries to plan ahead and study for short blocks of time, such as half an hour here and there throughout the day.

Some students have been preparing all quarter for finals, and others will probably put off studying until the night before. Aimee Cervenka, EWU Academic Success Center and retention specialist, said, “The biggest mistake I think students make is putting off studying until it is too late.”

According to Lauren Cahill, counseling psychologist at Eastern, waiting until the last minute can result in a lot of cramming, not getting enough sleep, not eating right and stressing out, which can have many negative effects.

EWU sophomore Cassie Hornbuckle said, “Don’t cram. It never works.”

As a reminder for students, Cahill said, “If you are really stressed out and feel like you are overwhelmed and you are not going to be able to do things, it will get in the way of remembering material.”

Another topic that comes up when talking about finals is losing sleep by staying up late the night before to study. “Sleeping before exams is really important,” says Cahill. Students often do stay up late the night before tests and then get an extra shot of coffee in the morning to wake up.

“Do not get over caffeinated. If you are staying up really late, drinking water instead of a lot of caffeine and sugar will help kind of stabilize the energy level a little and prevent you from crashing,” said Cervenka.

There are many different ways that students can prepare for finals. Hornbuckle says, “I sleep a lot and study for like three hours a day.” Hornbuckle also realizes just how important eating habits are in staying focused. “Eat really healthy meals and always eat breakfast.”

“The night before a big test, if possible, really just putting things away a little bit earlier, giving more time before bed to kind of de-stress, … let your brain relax, … trust what you know and get a good night’s sleep,” said Cervenka.

For those students who have multiple finals on the same day or one final on Monday and another on Tuesday, studying for all finals beforehand is recommended. Cervenka says, “I do not recommend only studying for the first [test] and then studying for the second one after, … the biggest thing I can stress is preparation.”

If students are still looking for help on preparing for finals, it is recommended that they speak with their professors, or seek advice from the EWU Academic Success Center.

As a last piece of advice, Hornbuckle said, “Just relax because it is just another test.”