Preparing for my first ever college finals week

The last week of classes begins tomorrow, and then I’ll just have a few finals to complete before my first semester of college is finished. As a high school student, college finals week seemed profoundly intimidating, like an academic marathon, but so far I haven’t been too stressed about them.

Two of the classes I was enrolled in this semester ended months ago, so I only have finals for four classes. Not all finals are created equal, so this weekend I planned out what I have to do for each class.

If you are a college student trying to get organized, or a high school student curious about what to expect from finals week, here is how I organized all the information I need to know before finals week.

I organized my notes in my bullet journal, but if you like to have things digitally, a Google doc or Google sheet would work well.

For each class I wrote the date of the final, as well as how long I have to work on it, since it varies from class to class. In one class, I have an exam that starts exactly at 12:30pm, but for another final exam the test is open between 10am and 10pm, though I’ll only have two hours to take it once I open the test.

One of my finals is just an essay, and another is a combination of multiple elements, so I also wrote down what format each final is in.

I also wrote down which days I will spend studying for tests and drafting essays. Closer to finals week, I will block off specific time for preparing for finals on my Google calendar.

Luckily, I don’t have any cumulative exams, which has also relived some of my worries about finals week. I have one essay that encompasses the whole unit, but I can choose what I want to include to support my thesis. The tests I am taking in finals week only cover the most recent units of my classes. I noted what information will be covered for each of my finals as well.

Finally, I wrote my current grade in each class to remind myself of how I am positioned grades-wise before the final.

I originally wrote out all this information on a Google doc, which is fine if you want easy access to your notes online. However, I keep a bullet journal where I organize my school work, so I transferred these notes to physical paper, which helps me see what I need to do visually. I also left a portion of the paper blank so I can add any extra notes or tasks that come up later.

It can seem overwhelming to think about all the work you have to do, but I find that just breaking the tasks down and organizing them is an easy first step that can make the work ahead seem more manageable.

Good luck with your classes!

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My name is Natalie, welcome to my Experience Iowa blog. I'm first year University of Iowa student majoring in journalism and working as a news reporter at The Daily Iowan. I've lived just outside of Iowa City since 2013. In high school I loved to explore the downtown area, so I was happy to spend four more years here. In my free time I like bullet journaling and giving unsolicited podcast recommendations.

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