For most college students, the week before finals (aka “Dead Week”) is rapidly approaching. It’s unavoidable that Dead Week and Finals Week are going to be stressful. However, below are some tips to help insure that you aren’t counted among the walking dead.

Tip #1: Try to relax over Thanksgiving

You have plenty of stress ahead of you, but worrying about it now isn’t going to be helpful. Use your Thanksgiving break to relax. Enjoy the company of your family and friends. Try to get in a healthy and strong state of mind before you go back to school.

Tip #2: Take Inventory

As soon as your Thanksgiving holiday is over, take a look at your current grades. This will give you a sense of how hard you will need to study or work on big projects. This is also a good time to see if it’s not too late to do some extra-credit work. Next, if you have a term-long project or paper that is due soon, make a list of which components need completion.

Tip #3: Stock Up

There will be some late nights ahead of you. It’s advisable to make a trip to the grocery store at the start of Dead Week. Below is a list of what to get:

  • coffee or tea

  • lots of snacks

  • easy to make meals

    * Try to buy healthy foods, but there is no shame in getting some one-off items like candy bars or pizza bagel bites. You’re going through a hard time, so it’s nice to give your taste-buds a break.

  • notecards for making flashcards or notes for presentations

  • ink for your printer

  • highlighters

  • test booklets that your final might require

  • #2 pencils

  • ear plugs (in case you have loud roommates when you are trying to study)

Tip #4: Create a Plan of Attack

Each hour of Dead Week and Finals Week is precious and critical. Create or find a schedule where you can make a plan so you can know what you are doing each hour of the day. Here’s how you fill it out:

  • First, put in the times of your finals (finals are seldom at your normal class time). Also, it might be helpful to write in the room number the final is in (often finals are in different meeting locations then where the class normally meets).

  • Second, put in the times that papers/ projects are due. Be sure you know the method by which they are due (in class, in a digital dropbox, via email, at your professor’s office)

  • Third, put in the times you are meeting with study groups or that your professor is having a review session

  • Fourth, put in your sleeping hours (keeping in mind the number you know you need to function the best)

  • Fifth, Divide the left over time with studying and study breaks. Try to limit study breaks to around an hour. This way, if someone says “let’s watch a movie,” hopefully you’re not sucked in to the Lord of the Rings trilogy (extended scene collector’s edition). Try to exercise or do something active during some study breaks as well. This is good for stress-relief and overall brain functioning.

Tip #5: Stay Positive!

The power of positive thought can not be underestimated during dead and finals week. Our brains work better when we are in positive states of mind. Even if you have an inhuman amount of studying ahead of you, tell yourself, “I got this! I’m going to master this!” If you tell yourself this, you’re brain might believe it. What good does thinking, “I’m going to fail this,” do as you walk into the final? Think positive thoughts! When it’s finally all over, don’t dwell. The term is over, and you can’t go back and change your answers. It’s time to celebrate your survival!