A Finals Plan of Attack

It’s FML FINALS season.  How do I know? Glad you asked! The temperatures are rising. Flowers are in bloom. The sun is out longer. Spring is here… All signs that it’s… You guessed it, FINALS season. For most graduate students, Spring Break ended two or three weeks ago and the semester kicked into hyper drive. If you’re like me then you probably already started stressing out. So do as I say and not as I do: Don’t stress or panic. There is hope.  Hopefully, my FINALS plan will help you knock out your finals and leave time for fun.

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In all seriousness, I strongly believe there is hope.  Below you’ll find a step by step guide to my finals plan. I hope these actions will help you knock out your finals and leave time for fun (in the sun).

Prioritize your finals by deadline

This will help you complete finals in order of due date. Last semester, my finals were due the same week, but different days. This semester my final deadlines are spread out

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Pictured: My Finals Schedule

throughout April, with finals due each week. As a personal aid, I made this calendar my desktop background so I will always know what I need to work on. You could do this or print it and post it on your desktop. You could also set reminders in your calendar app.

Research each final

Designate a day to research each final before you start working on it. I start my research process by looking for relevant readings in the course syllabus. Then I search in my university’s research database, Google Scholar, and the research librarian’s research guide page.  Your university’s research database will provide you with access to academic journals, items in the university’s library—such as books, movies, documentaries, historical documents, etc.—and items that you can access through interlibrary loan (ILLaid). People use ILLaid when they have begun the research process well in advance. I don’t usually start my research that early. Google Scholar is a good place to start if you want to see more recent articles on some topics. In my experience, I have found Google Scholar to be a hit or miss depending on the topic of my paper or project. Last, the research librarian is heaven sent. This person will be your best friend during finals. Research Librarians know all the tricks to finding what you are looking for. Typically, they have web pages that can guide you through the online research resources your university has to offer. Sometimes, they have specific topics for your concentration.

Outline your final(s)

Once you know what you want to write about. You should outline your paper.  Some professors havMake-an-Outline.jpge the Final Outline listed as an assignment in the course syllabus. If your professor did that. Thank them and take it seriously. Completing the outline signifies your half way done with the paper.  Additionally, if you have to present your final use your outline. During the Q&A part of your presentation, ask colleagues for their advice and incorporate their suggestions into your paper where you deem necessary.

 Meet with the course TA or Professor with questions

If you have any questions about your paper or need direction, I strongly suggestion meeting with your TA or Professor. After all, they are there to help. Plus, it is always good to bounce ideas off other people.

Designate days to focus on finals (highest priority 1st).

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My Finals Study/ Writing Schedule

Working on finals is time-consuming. I suggest dedicating all your free time in the week to completing finals. For me, that means all my free time Monday through Saturday will be used to complete finals. I don’t use time limits when working on finals. However, some of you may want to allot certain time periods to work on finals. If it works for you, I say go for it. This week my homework schedule looks like…

Edit/Revise & Submit

Take time to edit your finals. It is hard for me to edit my own work. Primarily because I have looked at it nonstop. Share your work with fresh eyes, by exchanging papers with colleagues. Or you could take some time away from your paper by working on something else. Once you are happy with your final, Submit!

Good luck, sisters! The end is almost near.

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Be sure to sound off in the comments so we can learn what works for you!

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