Although most of you have probably experienced “Finals Week” in high school, there is nothing like Finals Week in college. It can be a stressful period of the semester. However, this stress can be managed if the right steps are taken to combat it. Mackenzie (’22) will be answering some frequently asked questions by incoming freshman that, even if we don’t admit it, we all had coming into college.
Is Finals Week as scary as it sounds?
I wouldn’t exactly use the word “scary.” Overwhelming, absolutely. I wish I could say it was neither of these things, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t experience any stress during finals week. It’s all about how you personally tackle the week, though. If you don’t let Finals Week scare you, it won’t!
Additionally, Finals Week is going to look different for everyone. There are people moving out on the last day of classes, and others have five finals to worry about throughout the week. It’s hard to wrap up the “Finals Week experience” into a couple of sentences, because it looks different for everyone.
How does Finals Week work? Do I still have classes?
You won’t have any classes during finals week. The last day of classes are on the Friday before Finals Week. Finals Week is solely, well, finals. You won’t have any other obligations that week (like going to class) — you just have to show up to take your final exams (or turn in those final projects/presentations).
Where and with whom who do I take my finals with and how do I know this information?
You will take your finals with your professor and your peers in the same classroom that you usually have class in throughout the semester. This will be reiterated to you when Finals Week is approaching, so don’t worry about it too much! All of this information should be written down in the professor’s syllabus, and will probably be repeated to you every class for the few weeks prior to the final exam.
When specifically do finals take place?
Finals take place after the semester is over. This will be near the beginning/middle of December for fall semester, and end of April/beginning of May for spring semester. Finals week is Monday – Thursday, so you will not have any finals on Friday of finals week (yay!).
How does scheduling final exams work?
How your finals lie out will really depend on what time your classes are at. For example, all classes that meet at 8:10am Monday, Wednesday and Friday may have the 10:00am final time on Wednesday of Finals Week. This is just an example, but this is essentially how that process works. So, you may have 2 finals on Monday and 2 on Tuesday and then be done. You may have 1 on Monday and 2 on Thursday. It all depends on how that process unfolds.
What happens after finals are over?
Finals will always be prior to a break, whether that be Christmas break or summer break, so what you choose to do after finals are over is really up to you. During finals week of first semester, my last final was on Wednesday morning, so I went home that evening. I had finals second semester all the way through Thursday, so I ended up staying Thursday night and leaving Friday morning. My sister came down from the Seattle area to help me move out. I benefited from that extra night as I had an entire room to move out of. So, this really depends on what you want to do, but if you are living in a dorm on campus, you will have to be all moved out by 12pm on the Friday of Finals Week. However, the main message here is that you get to go on break after finals! Yay!
Will I have finals for all of my classes?
It depends. Most likely, you will, but it depends on the course and the professor. Some finals may be final projects or essays, which could potentially be turned in or presented on the last day of classes. I can tell you, though, if you’re a science major, you will be having written, traditional, final exams!
Will my labs have finals?
Most labs will have some type of formal lab report or project which will be due near the end of the semester or finals week. Some labs will have exams, but they aren’t your traditional “final exam,” and will be taken during class. There is no specific time slot during finals week for lab. For more information on science labs, please visit https://sites.up.edu/cas/what-is-a-college-science-lab-really-like-pre-health-edition-mackenzie-22/ .
What are some ways I can de-stress during finals week?
Block out time prior to the week beginning for self-care activities. For example, this past semester I had a final on Monday, a final on Tuesday, none on Wednesday, and two on Thursday. My friend, Zoe, and I went to Pie Spot for a piece of pie and some ice cream on Wednesday morning. It was a great break from the endless studying we had been doing, as well as a recharge so we could continue studying when we got back to campus!
I also definitely call my mom (multiple times) during finals week. Sometimes I need to cry and just let out my stress and frustration, and other times I just want to call and catch up and talk about other things that are going on in my life at the time, or hear what my mom is up to. This, also, is a good break from studying and a great way to combat that stress.
Lastly, I like to have some fun during finals week. This past semester, my friends and I took a little study break and ventured to Burgerville for a tasty burger, milkshake, and fries. Not only were we able to get off campus for a little bit and eat some tasty food, but it also was a quick enough trip that we weren’t wasting away our time. Again, how you manage your time during finals week will have a direct effect on your stress levels.
How do I best prepare for finals?
I’d love to say what you’ll hear from all of your professors, “Start early! Start reviewing and studying for finals from the very first day of class, a little bit of review each day is way more manageable than cramming at the last minute.” However, that is much easier said than done. I’m not saying that you should purposefully leave all of your studying until the night before an exam, but starting to study for your final on the first day of class isn’t always realistic, depending on your class load and schedule. When I finally wrapped up everything that I had to complete for the semester and was looking at starting to study for finals, I would look at which courses I had finals in, when the final was, and what I need to go over for each course. Then I would make somewhat of a “plan” for myself, even if that plan was just mental. The reality is, you’re never going to have enough time to study everything you want to for a particular class. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Make a plan of what your goal is to study before the final exam, and do your best to execute that plan.
What is your best advice for taking on finals week?
I would say essentially what I said above — do everything you can in the time that is available to you. Don’t pull all-nighters and don’t over-study and exhaust yourself. Take care of yourself during this week. Get plenty of sleep, eat full meals (healthy, for the most part), exercise or get active to release some of that stress, and rely on friends and family for support. Everyone has your back in the UP community! Don’t forget that! We all undergo finals week together, so being there for one another is essential in our success.
Thanks, Mackenzie! If you’re having some questions about finals week in general, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org