Finals week meltdown: 5 ways to cope


Students are anxiously studying for final exams, and the reality has set in that they’re not as prepared as they thought they were. Teachers change assignments, students realize they’ve lost notes from earlier in the term, and they don’t have as much free time as they thought they would. This is when high school students tend to have a total meltdown and don’t know how to cope with the amount of academic work that needs to get sorted through in the next week or so. Although students who are prepared tend to do better in general, there are some things every student can do to improve their chances of success.

1. Organize like crazy

The very first thing students should do at this point is to get organized. When students sit down and jump into an hours-long study session without planning ahead, they tend to become overwhelmed and have to stop to figure things out. It’s better to spend a few minutes planning what needs to get done on what day and at what time to prevent a lot of unnecessary stress. If math is due Tuesday and science is due Friday, by all means work on math first. If a student is great in English, but they’re, struggling in humanities, then they should spend more time on humanities. Organization is simple but incredibly useful when it comes to success during finals week.

2.  Get help from a study group and a tutor

Many students are so stressed out that they just can’t study alone anymore. They could have the content totally down but just can’t quite get started. This is when it’s time to call a one-on-one tutor or arrange to meet with a study group. Tutors can help students organize and prioritize, and students in study groups help encourage each other to persevere and make studying a priority during this week. Students never have to study alone – our private Orange County academic tutors are here to help you ace your finals.

3.  Prioritize

Students also need to make some tough decisions when it comes to priorities. They should think about what they need to learn and what grades they need to get in each class. There’s a big difference between a final that’s worth 25% and a final that’s worth 10% of the final grade. Students might be hoping for a scholarship based on their overall GPA, or they might be planning to major in a particular subject when they start college. Priorities also include setting aside social activities during finals week and making academics the first thing they work on.

4. Be reasonable

Students should also be reasonable with themselves and set goals they can reach. For instance, if they’ve received a B- on every quiz and exam so far in a particular subject this year, that’s probably a good goal for their final. Also, students should remember that they cannot get seven hours worth of study done in two. Planning ahead makes it easier to accomplish loftier goals and students should remember to be kind to themselves and know that their accomplishments have a lot of value (READ: College Finals: Tips from a Los Angeles College Tutor).

5. Use study aids

High school students working on finals study should also utilize the many study aids available to them. They could use something as simple as a flash card program such as Quizlet. Or read CliffsNotes and SparkNotes online to review novels they read months ago. Students might also use a study app like Self Control, which helps them avoid social media distractions or they might use any number of useful personal organization apps to plan their schedule during the weeks coming up to the exams.

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