With less than three weeks of classes left, crunch time is upon us! Those last few exams, assignments and projects are almost here, and with everyone spending a lot of extra time online this semester, it can be hard to stay focused. Long nights spent cramming can quickly get overwhelming, especially as we head into finals, but these tips will keep you from going down that path. Here are some ways you can stay focused during the final month of the semester:

  1. Make a Calendar. Making a calendar of all your upcoming deadlines and extracurricular activities will keep you from getting overwhelmed. You’ll be able to see all of your final assignments at a glance and make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines. Spreading your studying out over a few days (or even better, over a couple weeks) when you don’t have assignments due or virtual events to attend also helps to alleviate that last-minute cramming stress. You can even color code your calendar by course to help you stay organized and make the calendar more visually interesting!
  2. Don’t Waste Time On Your Phone…. How many times have you picked up your phone to answer one text and ended up scrolling through TikTok for hours? Designating some notification-free study time will help you be more productive and get things done with time to spare. Turning on “Do Not Disturb” will keep you from being tempted, and putting your phone a bit farther from you than normal (like on your bed while you study at your desk) can also help.
  3. …But do Phone a Friend! Being at home doesn’t mean you have to be alone; studying with a roommate or setting up a Zoom meeting with your classmates for a group study session is a great way to compare notes and see what you do and don’t understand. If you don’t know anyone in your classes, studying with a friend who isn’t in your class can still be helpful—you can try to explain what you’re learning to them and see if you really have a handle on the concepts.
  4. Take a Look Back at Your Past Assignments. If you get stuck and don’t know the next thing you can do to help you study, try looking back at your graded assignments and exams from earlier in the semester. The feedback from your professors can help you understand where you might’ve gone wrong and what you can improve upon for your last few assignments and exams.
  1. Take a Break! Are the words in your textbook beginning to melt together? Taking a break from studying actually helps your brain refocus and get ready for the next study session. So, don’t be scared to spend an hour continuing your latest “The Office” re-watch, dancing around to the new Ariana Grande album or even taking a nap. However, if you really want to keep studying or if you’re knee-deep in crunch time, make sure you’re switching topics and/or classes regularly. Your brain will reward you for the necessary reset!

By taking advantage of these tips, you’ll be sure to finish the semester strong and stay focused. And once everything’s said and done, don’t forget to congratulate yourself! It’s been a difficult semester for us all, so be sure to (safely) celebrate everything you’ve accomplished this semester in spite of the adjustments we’ve all had to make. We’re almost there everyone; stay strong, and good luck!

Find more resources and help available through the Center for Learning and Student Success.

Written by Dakota Chambers ’22 , College of Arts and Sciences, CLASS Tutor