As a freshman, I have recently experienced what has been the most testing time of my college life thus far, no pun intended. The final exams themselves aren’t really the most terrible part; the anticipation I have for them is much worse. These are professors you may not know very well giving you an exam that could be worth as much as half of your grade for the semester. You panic.

Finals week was one of the most stressful events I have ever been through because of the sheer fact that I put so much gravity on doing well on my tests.

Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I have accumulated a to-do list to help you handle the final frenzy.

First, know that these exams are not the same as your high school tests. You will be asked to use your analytical skills far more than you will use your matching skills.

Second, plot out a timeline of what days you have which test at least a week before your first midterm or final. Prioritizing is not optional, and it’s a terrible idea to study for six tests at one time.

Third, use memory devices. Flashcards, highlighting and study guides are all ways to get yourself organized in a fun, colorful way. Reading your notes over and over again isn’t very effective and isn’t nearly as fun.

Make these fundamentals the basis for your study habits, and you should do fine. However, keep in mind Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” I personally experienced that this finals week.

Having just closed the play “Lysistrata” the week before finals, I got a little mixed up with my schedule. I had a writing portfolio due as my final project for College Composition at noon on Tuesday. At 12:10 p.m., my classmate asked me how I finished my portfolio. Completely confused I asked, “What do you mean? It’s not due until Friday.”

“No, it was due today.”

I ran over to Palumbo and up to the third floor to my professor’s office. I was so worked up, almost to the point of tears, meeting her with profuse apologies and begging for an extension. Luckily, she was very understanding and allowed me to get my act together and turn it in later. It just goes to show that these things can happen to anyone.

Overall stress management is the best way to ace your finals. Being organized is crucial, but getting a handle on what you must accomplish will help you do well.

Take an inside look at other Finals Week preparations and celebrations.