Tips for Tackling Final Exams

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Study. Self-Care. And Hot Chocolate.

RRR week is upon us and we all know what that means … finals are around the corner. If you need some support and commiseration, here are some tips for final exam preparation from four UC Berkeley students:

Print and Annotate Your Notes


Hosea Chen | second year, cognitive science (data science and creative writing minors)

Favorite finals comfort food: loaded fries


“I print out my notes and annotate through them usually before I sleep, and that helps me retain and organize what I need to study.”

Notes are super important to take throughout the year and provide so much help, especially when studying for finals. You can look back at them and remind yourself of key concepts. Highlighting, underlining, or annotating notes help to memorize these key concepts. Annotating notes has been one of the most useful skills I have learned as a college student and I credit most of my academic success to this skill.

Remember Your Health


Mahrosh Gealani | fourth year, political science and South Asian Studies

Favorite finals comfort food: Peet’s hot chocolate


“Plan, eat right, meditate, sleep. This sounds like cliche advice, but lack of sleep will actually make it harder for you to think on your feet if something does come up that you haven’t studied for. I’ve learned the hard way how important health is during stressful times, so eating right and taking healthy breaks will help you balance out stress and anxiety with tasks to get done.”

Taking care of yourself is an integral step. It can often become easy to skip these steps during RRR and finals week. However, I always find that I do better when I take care of myself because I can fully focus on studying rather than being sleep deprived. Taking care of yourself looks different for everyone but sleeping and eating right are some universal self-care tips.

Study with Friends


Lucas Yen | third year, political economy

Favorite finals comfort food: “unquestionably” peanut butter and jelly sandwiches


“Start studying early, sleep well the night before, and form study groups!”

Studying with friends is a popular study routine among Berkeley students and also one of my favorite study tips. Studying can often be isolating; however, studying with friends can make it an interactive experience while holding each other accountable. After all the saying goes “two heads are better than one.”

Start Early and Prioritize


Mark Refe | fourth year, legal studies

Favorite finals comfort food: McDonald’s “because they are open super late and always available for Uber eats.”


“DO NOT procrastinate until the end of RRR week, make sure to start studying as soon as possible! If you still feel like you are running out of time, prioritize studying for the hardest final and use any remaining time during finals week to study for the easier finals.”

It is easy to procrastinate when we are given one week with no classes to study and leave everything until the last minute. Managing your time is important to avoid being stressed out.

As you can see, while there is no set formula to “study” correctly, it is important not only to study but also to make time for yourself, whether that’s gathering with friends, practicing self-care, or treating yourself to your favorite comfort food. Remember to be proud of yourself for coming this far, regardless of the grade on your final.

As always, good luck on finals and go Bears!


Dixie Valle is a senior at Berkeley majoring in political science. Featured photo by Peg Skorpinski.