Planning during finals is critical to getting good grades and being prepared for your finals. Now, I’m crazy and have to have things planned out in detail. A lot of students I know don’t plan out the studying specifically but instead say “ok I have X exam in 2 days. I’ll study for X exam for the next 2 days.” It’s a perfectly fine method to studying and I know a lot of students who are successful using that method. I am not one of those students.
My finals planning starts the week before finals. I create a study plan that breaks down my time into studying, relaxing, taking care of life, etc. and it’s fairly concrete. I have lots of different calendars that I use to keep my life organized and they all overlap on my google calendar. My productivity (light blue) calendar is key to planning each week, but especially during finals. I also have my non-negotiables (red), workouts (yellow), and random other things in various colors.
My calendar has a lot of red and light blue for this week. In my productivity calendar, I make sure to block out at least 2 hours for studying. For me, anything less than 2 hours isn’t enough time for me to get settled, start studying, and actually understand the material. I try to set 3 hour blocks when I can but I need my breaks, too.
I’m terrible with studying at home. I have Patrick, the dogs, Netflix…the distractions are endless. While I will study at home for a good chunk of finals, I’ll eventually run into things that need my full, undivided attention. During finals week, I make sure to schedule in plenty of time to study at school or at a local Starbucks. Luckily, I live far enough off campus they aren’t overrun by college students. It’s a nice change of venue (haha, legal jokes) too so it makes it easier to focus.
This week, I work twice and have three exams: Adoption, Immigration, and Admin law. I know going into the week that my Adoption and Admin exams are closed book and my Immigration exam is open everything, except the internet. I also have a paper due next Monday. With that information, I can start planning what I’m going to study in a general sense. Obviously, I want to study Adoption first and make sure I have a firm grasp on that subject before I move on. With Immigration, I know I need to take an hour and print everything we’ve gone over and compile my notes. For Admin, I need to focus on running through practice problems and creating an outline I can use for those practice problems. My Crim Pro paper on Monday is a 15 page maximum, so it should take me roughly 6 hours with research and writing.
With all that knowledge, I can plan out exactly what I should study when. I never plan what I study in certain blocks but I do plan overall how long I think studying will be for each class. I’m estimating 4 hours for Adoption, 3 for Immigration, and 7-8 for Admin law. Having estimations in mind help me figure out how many breaks I can take and how late I have to study each night. Now, it’s a matter of putting all this into action and studying for my finals!