The Final Countdown: what to do in the weeks leading up to finals


Yes, it’s that time of the year again. The time for students to clean their apartments, reorganize their closets, rearrange their living rooms, read a magazine and then, finally, study.

But finals season doesn’t have to be about dreading studying. In fact, procrastination and cramming are more often a result of poor preparation rather than a distaste for studying. So how do you make your semester wrap-up enjoyable, or at the very least bearable?

Here are five ways to not only set yourself up for success across the board this finals season, but boost your engagement throughout the process.


While we may not always realize it, the thing holding us back the most from studying is often figuring out what to study. And with so much material thrown at us over the course of dozens of class sessions, it can be difficult to get organized and develop a plan of action. Accept this, and don’t think you’re above setting aside a few hours or even a full day to simply organize your notes, class by class. Doing this will make every step of actually studying that much easier as you can now effortlessly locate information and check off material you know.

Make a question list

As you go through your notes, it is essential that you address anything confusing right away. A good way to do this is to create a document or section in your notebook reserved specifically for questions that come up. Once you have four, five or even more questions, schedule a quick 30-minute meeting with your professor or attend their office hours to clear the air. Compiling study questions is something every successful student does, but beware that you start early as the close you get to your final, the harder it may be to get some of your professors’ time.

Bump up your ‘dead week’

Starting your studying early isn’t just beneficial when it comes to getting your concerns addressed by professors, it also allows you to avoid the dreaded ‘dead week’ – the week leading up to final exams. No matter how much or how little you think you need to get done, start now. Just an hour a day per class is usually enough to ensure that when it comes to the traditional dead week you won’t have to scramble. Instead you can spend your time casually studying while still going about your regular routine.

Exercise and meal prep

Finals week can take a toll on more than just your brain cells. Most students will tell you that the time they are most likely to be sick is during finals season because there simply isn’t enough time to exercise and sleep. Moreover, with less time available to grocery shop and cook students will also be more likely to go out to eat and thus spend more money. Avoid this common trap by setting a loose menu for the week and even prepping a few meals each Sunday.

Study, study, study

Finally, the biggest thing to do to help yourself this finals season is to study every day. Study with buddies, study alone, study at the library, study at a coffee shop. And, if you really are having trouble buckling down and getting your schedule down, don’t hesitate to speak to one of ACI’s education experts for advice on managing your time and avoiding that dreaded procrastination.

Get started at, or contact ACI at / 800.932.0034


About ACI Specialty Benefits

ACI Specialty Benefits ranks in the nation’s Top-Ten providers of Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), corporate wellness programs, student assistance, corporate concierge, and work/life services to corporations worldwide. ACI partners with clients to Perk Up employee engagement and performance with benefit programs that improve morale, productivity and the bottom-line. With a 95% customer retention rate and over 7 million lives covered. ACI remains a privately-owned specialty benefits corporation, headquartered in San Diego. For more information, visit or call 800.932.0034.
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