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I don’t claim to be an expert on finals preparation but I think my advice is no less useful and may be a bit more realistic than what passes for the usual finals week chaos. If you think all-nighters work and that you do your best work under pressure; good luck. Because you have just been lucky so far.


You should start now preparing for finals. Make a schedule, figure out when you are in class, at work, eating, napping, working out, socializing and commit it to the schedule. Think now about how much time you will need to prepare for each final. Breaking a big task into smaller parts is an effective method. Do a little bit everyday for each class between now and finals week.

You have all the material read at least once before finals’ week. The night before a final should be spent reviewing, not reading for the first time. Pages in textbooks should be converted to outlined notes which can then be turned into index cards. Lecture notes as well should be re-written into a more precise summary of the content, using charts, diagrams instead of text when possible.

Get a piece of poster board or a roll of paper and make a big “battle plan” on your wall. Add motivational quotes, pictures, images, etc. There is no such thing as getting too far ahead or studying too much. Start now, with a plan, do something each day for each class, and your finals week will go a whole lot better.

Karl Laves is the associate director of the Counseling and Testing Center at WKU and is a licensed counseling psychologist.