6 Tips to Not Lose Your Mind During Finals

Finals have started. Last week was rough and these next two weeks are not going to be any better. But, we will all survive! And your survival is guaranteed if you follow this guide to not lose your mind during finals. 

1// Study Early

At my college, we have a Reading Day the day before finals begin and there aren’t any classes. It’s an awesome day to get a lot of studying done. But more importantly, it’s a great day to plan how the rest of your studying is going to go.

I try to study with at least 24 hours of waking hours before the exam. For example, my chemistry exam isn’t until Friday at 7pm. 24 hours before then is Thursday at 7pm but because ideally I’ll sleep 8 hours, I actually need to start studying at 11pm on Thursday. This system only really works on classes where you don’t have too much to study, which you shouldn’t if you’ve done a good job of studying throughout the semester.

2// Sleep

I feel like every time I make a how to college guide, I usually end up mentioning this. Sleep!

Sleep is by far one of the most important things that you can do for your body. It’s how your brain processes stuff. If you can, have at least two complete sleep nights between your exams and definitely have at least one complete night of sleep. What do I mean by complete? Whatever makes your body feel completely 100%. That, for me, is 6 ½ to 7 hours of sleep. Less than that and I’m tired but more than that I get a really terrible headache.

3// Take an hour

If you’re going to spend an entire day studying, take at least one complete hour of your day to leave your chair and walk outside. And I do not mean a break to grab lunch. I’m talking about a break where you walk around, maybe listen to music, talk to some of your friends or, if you’re me, talk to your parents.

I know, I know, no one wants to go to the outside. But it’s good for you. Your brain needs the break and, trust me, you’ll be going crazy just being inside all day.

4// Eat

I know that a couple of my friends forget to eat when they get really deep into the zone. So I suggest that you have a series of snacks on your desk that you can reach for while you’re working. Just as important, stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water on your desk and sip from it every now and again.

If you are one of those people who forget to eat, set an alarm to remind yourself to get an actual meal. This meal should be something pretty light because it’s unlikely that you’ve done any serious working out. Skip the really heavy carbs and high fat content foods for things that are a bit healthier. You’ll thank yourself when you still have energy two hours later rather than being sluggish from the heaviness of your meal.

5// Keep the Smells Good

So this might be a little random but stick it out for a minute.

I get nauseous by really strong smells and that makes it really difficult to stay focused. But I’ve found that peppermint, pomegranate, and men’s cologne are scents that don’t cause any nausea. And all of these smells get me in a feel-good, ready to get stuff done type of mood. So whenever I really need to stay focused I chew on some peppermint gum or spray wrists with my favorite men’s cologne (currently Avon’s “Untouchable Strength”).

If you’re someone who finds that smells can make focusing easier, consider finding your favorites and using them to study. The great thing about this is that your brain makes a lot of really strange connections, so if you were studying while wearing a certain perfume, your brain associates that smell with the information you’re learning. So before you head off to take your final, spritz some of that scent on you and you’ll have an easier time recalling information.

6// Know When It’s Enough

You are not going to be able to learn an entire semester’s worth of information in three or four nights. If you could, then they wouldn’t have semesters.

Don’t try to relearn everything. The point of studying is to refresh your memory of all of things that you already know and to clarify anything that may not be completely clear. You must trust that you already have the information it takes to pass your finals.

Don’t study right before the exam, don’t look over your notes, don’t do a quick run through. Instead, take a breath and be confident in your abilities.

You already know this. You’ve got this, you’re going to do amazingly. Take a breath and go ace your final.


That’s all from me. I hope some of these tips will help you get through the rest of your finals.

You’ve got this! Good luck!

What other tips are you using or that you’ve used in the past to survive finals?