Five alternative ways to prepare for finals

Sarah Ross

Junior environmental health major, Kristan Coggins relaxes in the shade among the colorful leaves as she takes a break from studyng for a test. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)
Junior environmental health major, Kristan Coggins relaxes in the shade among the colorful leaves as she takes a break from studyng for a test. (Photo Credit: Megan Fischer)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but finals week is a mere three and a half weeks of school away (approximately 18 days of school, to be exact). This may be a relief to some of you, a terrible reality check for others, and for many, a bit of both.

How do people prepare for the ever-nearing impact of the last week of school? How do people mentally find the tenacity to make it through? There are plenty of study tips of how to plan out a schedule of studying and how to eat right for finals, so we will spare you there. Instead, here are five weird ways to prep and get through finals week.


Make a trip jar 

Every time you set aside time to study, but find yourself on Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, or whatever your guilty pleasure website(s) are, put a dollar in the jar. Or five even. If you don’t have a dollar, put a note in and cash them all in when you are paid next. This will encourage you to focus on your studies, and if you’re like me, in three and a half weeks, you will have enough notes in there to afford a fun weekend with friends, either roadtripping to somewhere cool or camping in the middle of nowhere. It’ll be a fun way to both motivate yourself to study and get you through the week by giving you something to look forward to after finals. 

Go for a run 

“Physical exercise improves learning ability by growing new neurons and slowing (or even reversing) cognitive decay. Lab animals who use a running wheel show better cognition than sedentary critters.” – Buzzfeed

Junior English major Alex Pinion searches through the textbooks on hold behind the front desk of the Library Sunday night. Pinion, a work study student, has been employed with the Library since her first year at CSU.

Study in chunks 

The human attention span is short. Really short. So that three hour cram session does you little help. So study for between 20 and 40 minutes, take a break to do that laundry that’s been in the corner for three weeks, study for another 20 to 40 minutes, and then send that email you keep forgetting about and take out that trash that’s a bit too full. Swapping between things you need to do/want to do and studying will not only make it more bearable, but you’ll feel super productive without getting bogged down. 

Party ’til the sun goes… down? 

“Sleep expert Dan Taylor claims that studying the most challenging material right before sleeping makes it easier to recall the next morning.”- Buzzfeed

Brush up on your Spanish and dust off your recorder

Playing instruments and speaking foreign languages help exercise your brain in a way that helps it grow, improving cognitive function. So while I don’t recommend using this time to learn something brand new on top of all the things you are learning, it might be good to pick up that high school guitar you’ve had in your closet and strum on it for a bit. Wouldn’t hurt, and it’ll help relax you too.

Have you started studying for finals yet? Have you made any summer plans you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments?  

Collegian Blogger Sarah Ross can be reached online at or on Twitter at @HowSarahTweets. Read more of her content on AltLife or at under Music. Leave a comment!