My college is on the quarter system, which means we get three sets of finals! To ease the incredible stress of this period, I create a home-stretch schedule to help me do all the studying I need to, as well as everything else that keeps me sane. This is how I use my bullet journal and Google Calendar to keep track of it all.
Keeping Track of It All
This quarter, I am taking four classes, which translates to two exams and two essays with varying due dates. For each class, I breakdown the work I need to do for that final into individual activities. I then assign a time allotment to each, and total the amount of time for each class. This is the amount of studying time I need to budget over the days leading up to the exam.
I then collect the other assignments, activities, meals, and sleep that need time allotted. Often, I find these get lost amidst the hours in the library.
I then budget the number of hours for each class on each day, as well as the other assignments that need to be tracked for each day. Then, in my Google Calendar, I schedule every meal, exercise, and event.
I do not include my studying blocks in my Google Calendar. I’ve found that what works best for me is to allow myself a degree of flexibility in the studying schedule. This way, I can adjust my studying to fit my energy level.
I find it is crucial for me to be as specific as possible in all other events. In the run up to exams, I am too stressed to try to cook or choose an exercise activity so I take the choice out of it. Every meal is planned ahead of time or is designated for the dining hall. I also am very careful to budget extra time for my exercise blocks. In training for the Half-Marathon, my runs are getting longer and often take more time to recover from.
The way I schedule these other events is primed to fit my optimal studying patterns. I am most focused in the morning if I’ve exercised, so almost all my exercise blocks are in the morning. I also don’t plan to work well into the night. This guarantees at least 6 hours of sleep a night.
I also know that to be productive, I cannot be near my apartment. I also need frequent changes in scenery every few hours, so I do the bulk of my studying on campus. This way, I have a number of coffee shops and libraries nearby that I can move to when needed. I plan my meals around the various changes in location.
It is crucial that my schedule is flexible to my needs. Otherwise, the perfectionist in me takes over and my stress levels increase substantially. As long as I can keep my stress levels low, I am able to make the most of my study time.
Sticking to It
Sometimes, I need an extra kick-in-the-butt to get going on my studying so I schedule time with study groups and other review sessions. Since I feel the need to go into these prepared, they provide extra deadlines that keep me on pace with the chunks of time I dedicated to each subject.
I will also schedule time to study with friends in the library because their presence makes me more productive and we get brief social time during coffee runs or meals. These are not currently included in the schedule because I schedule them based on how focused and productive my mornings are.
How do you structure your studying for finals?