StudentMay 12, 2020Campus News
By: Abigail Corrigan '21

Tips for Studying for Virtual Finals

A current student gives advice on how to make the most of studying at home during an unusual Dead Week and finals period.
Tips for Studying for Virtual Finals
Clear the room, and your tabs!

The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and it seems more difficult than ever to find the motivation to get through the last few weeks. The usual signs of summer are missing, as we study alone from our bedrooms instead of sitting in the library alongside our classmates. We can't get that last Starbucks fix with the rest of our flex money, and we can't congregate under the purple umbrellas on campus.

But, that shouldn’t stop us from taking the time to connect with classmates and making the most out of at-home study sessions. You should make it a point to get mentally prepped, rid yourself of distractions, and make sure that troublesome WiFi connection won’t fail you. Sure, there's a little bit of extra stress during finals than we're used to, but there are some easy adjustments we can make to be sure we are ready to ace our virtual exams. I’ve found, through my experience with the past several weeks of virtual classes, a few best practices that can certainly carry through to final exams: 

  1. Carry out your normal routine We've all heard this numerous times during the work-from-home transition, but it's harder than expected. That said, you should try it. If you were someone who normally went for breakfast before your morning class, take some time to enjoy a morning meal before you log on to class. I'm someone who needs a few extra minutes to wake myself up and get going, so getting up early to have a couple of extra minutes to myself really helps me be fully alert when class starts.

  2. Practice your normal sleeping routine It's easy to stay up and talk with friends over Zoom, but be sure to set downtime from your electronic devices to relax before heading to sleep. Not only will this help you fall asleep more quickly, but it will also help you get more quality sleep as well. I use the “Downtime” setting on my phone, so all of my unnecessary apps shut off at a certain time, which also helps me not check my phone as soon as I wake up, either!

  3. Take breaks It might seem like we still have just as much work to do during our virtual semester, but we save some time when we’re not walking to Leahy or stopping to chat with friends. It’s important to notice how much time we spend staring at screens all day, and make it a point to take a break from the screen time and do something else. You can close your laptop, get outside for a walk or a run for even 30 minutes to an hour to “disconnect” and give your mind a break from the screen.

  4. Clear the room, and your tabs! I find that the more clutter around, the more likely my mind is to shift away from what I am working on. That clutter could range from all of the laundry I have yet to put away to the word documents, tabs, excel sheets, and emails I have opened on my laptop. When preparing for an exam, make sure you clear all distractions just as you would on your desk, the fewer items (virtual or otherwise) in front of you, the better!

These simple tips, and the mantra that seems to be a theme during this unusual time, “stay calm,” can help you get you from finals week into summer break!


Abigail Corrigan '21 is a junior in the Kania School of Management.
Abigail Corrigan '21 is a junior in the Kania School of Management.
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