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Your Finals Week Survival Kit: 11 Essentials for Test Time

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vassar library

Well, it’s that time of year again – final exams are coming up! From books to papers to presentations and everything else in between, everyone is so busy that they don’t have time to think about anything else. So to make your life just a little bit easier, here are all of the things you need for a day of writing and studying in the library so that you don’t forget anything. The times when I forget my laptop charger or notebook in my room are the worst.

1. A huge, expandable bag

I use a Tiffany’s Reversible Tote that I borrowed from my mom especially for finals week because I can fit my lunch, computer, textbooks and even a picnic blanket inside it all at the same time. In case you don’t have a go-to tote, here are some equally big bags:

Extra large tote bags
Product Info: Forever 21, ASOS

Now, lets fill those bags!

2. Laptop in a case and laptop charger

This one goes without saying, make sure that your laptop is in a case – the screen might crack from the weight of all of your notebooks if it isn’t. And don’t forget your charger! (Like I said, I’m guilty of this a little too often.)

3. Notes/textbooks you will need to study from

Again, this is pretty much a given, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget those essential notes when finals week stress sets in. Make sure to bring them all!

Colored pencils on a notebook

4. Highlighter, pens, and pencils

For those times when you need to study the old fashioned way.

5. Backup drive or flash drive

Make sure you are constantly backing up your work during exam week. Why? Because anything can happen – your computer could die before you have a chance to save your work, or you could spill something on your keyboard, like when I spilled a bottle of liquid foundation on mine and watched helplessly as the makeup sunk under the keys of my Mac. (My computer is still miraculously working but please let that be a lesson to you – don’t do your makeup near your computer!)

Even if you don’t have a flash drive or external hard drive, e-mail yourself copies of your paper every hour or so – better to be safe than sorry!

6. Water bottle and tea bags

Jasmine green tea is one of my little luxuries during exam week, because my school only sells lipton tea. The best part? You can make it anywhere; just ask for hot water at the coffee shop (and tip your barista). Also, don’t forget to bring your favorite refillable water bottle to avoid dropping unnecessary cash at the vending machine.

Apple

7. Healthy snacks

Sandwiches, almonds (or any other type of nut), fruit and vegetables are all great snacks for the library. For more, see our list of healthy snacks for college girls on the go.

8. At least one unhealthy snack

I know, you’re probably surprised to see this here, but let’s face it: After a day working in the library, you deserve a treat to keep you going. Just make sure it is small – don’t eat a gigantic bag of anything, otherwise you might crash from the sugar later.

9. Gum

I love bringing minty gum to the library – it will give you a perk of energy if you feel that you are falling asleep.

klimt books
Photo by me – I am slowly but surely completing research for my Art History paper on Gustav Klimt….

10. Comfy yet chic clothes

I promise you, leggings and a cashmere sweater are just as comfortable as sweatpants and a sweatshirt and are infinitely chicer. For more ideas, refer to our What to Wear During Finals Week guide.

11. Things to entertain you while taking a break AWAY from your computer

Bring nail polish, a book you’re reading for fun (like The Hunger Games), a sketchbook, or anything else that isn’t electronic for those moments when you need a quick break to clear your head because you are going bleary eyed from staring at your computer.

Your thoughts?

What do you think? Did this list help you get organized? What big papers do you have to write? Is there anything else that you bring with you for studying days in the library? Tell me what you think with a comment!

Posted on on April 29, 2012 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , ,

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24 Responses to “Your Finals Week Survival Kit: 11 Essentials for Test Time”

  1. 1
    April 29th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Love me some Klimt!
    and I just wrote an extensive paper on Ai Weiwei, so I feel your research pain.

  2. 2
    April 29th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Also headphones are an essential item. Totally necessary and easily forgotten.

  3. 3
    April 29th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Let me preface this by saying I am OBSESSED with nail polish and will use any excuse to paint and repaint my nails. BUT. Dont bring that to the library. With finals comes stress and headaches, and no one wants to smell those fumes (which reminds me, bring Advil!). Save it for the end of the day when you go home, or a celebratory mani after you finish your exam :). But the rest of these tips are spot on!

  4. 4
    April 29th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Ahh! I just wrote a paper on Klimt’s The Bride and Beeches! So glad I’m done!!

  5. 5
    April 29th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Love this list!! So helpful, great post!

  6. 6
    April 29th, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Great post! I agree with the people who said no nail polish in the library and bring headphones, though. Even if you’re just using them as ear plugs. People are surprisingly rude in the library, even during finals week. :/

  7. 7
    April 29th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Perfect list! Tea is such a small thing that goes such a long way in terms of studying relaxation. Even though it’s only midterm season for some of us quarter system west coast schools… ugh school til mid June.

  8. 8
    April 29th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Yesss…Hunger Games all day, any day ;)

    Now I should probably stop surfing the web and get to studying for tomorrow’s exam =P

  9. 9
    April 29th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Klimt! I just got to see a whole bunch of his sketches on display at the Albertina in Vienna – yay Study Abroad! Anyway, great suggestions. Except, I have to nix the novels (well, the ones I’m not studying for English!) or I will NEVER get work done. A sketchpad’s a cool idea, though – might keep me from being that annoying person who goes into the hallway to do plies and arabesques every hour.

  10. 10
    April 29th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Klimt is one of my favourites! It would be great to see some outfits inspired by his paintings… =]

  11. 11
    April 29th, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    So jealous! I am obsessed with Klimt, I was in Vienna this summer and I think I went to half the museums in the city but I didn’t make it to the Albertina.

    I would LOVE to do a series on outfits inspired by different artists……maybe if people are interested enough in it I could….

    and that is true about the nail polish, it is smelly so I only paint my nails if I am in a room in the library thats empty or if I’m far enough away from people….I have to say though, the library is such a good place for nail painting because I’m sitting in the same place for hours, none of the polish smudges!

  12. 12
    April 29th, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    OMG and headphones are necessary, can’t believe I forgot to put them on the list. And I obviously forgot my headphones when going to the library today…..so annoying!

  13. 13
    April 29th, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Do NOT bring nail polish, food, or gum to the library. Not only is it all probably against the rules, but you’ll make everyone around you hate you. But if you’re in the your dorm lounge (where I did all of my hardcore work), knock yourself out.

    Oatmeal and hot chocolate were in my study pack big time. But be careful with caffeine; one time I got all hyped up on tea, and started to go crazy at 3 AM. Herbal tea itself actually works pretty well.

  14. 14
    April 30th, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Well whenever I think of finals I think, I am one step closer to graduation! lol

  15. 15
    April 30th, 2012 at 1:32 am

    This list is so true! And indeed, headphones are necessity as well. I find it quite incredible that people who go to the library for studying actually TALK in the silence rooms of the library …

  16. 16
    April 30th, 2012 at 6:02 am

    This list has been my life for the past week…So tired of it, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

  17. 17
    April 30th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Katy, it depends on your library when it comes to food or gum. My undergrad library has places where snack food, gum, and talking were permitted for longer study sessions, as well as “quiet floors”. It wasn’t annoying because it was expected to happen, and it allowed those of us who were there to study all day on busy days to not lose our table because we needed to run out for lunch.

    But talk on the eighth floor and hooboy…you’d get the evil eye from everyone around you.

  18. 18
    April 30th, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Klimt! Just saw his art exhibit in Vienna, his work is beautiful!

  19. 19
    April 30th, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Yes Kira, it totally depends on your library- at my library, it is fine to eat as long as what youre eating isnt smelly or loud, and everyone chews gum!

    If food isn’t allowed at your library though, you probably shouldn’t be eating!

  20. 20
    May 1st, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Hi from Croatia ! This is great post !!!

  21. 21
    May 4th, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    I wish I would have seen this last week…I needed it. Thankfully, I survived :)!

  22. 22
    March 14th, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Vitacoco Coconut Water!

  23. 23
    September 14th, 2013 at 5:00 am

    What a great list! You’ve totally enlightened me to the idea of leggings and cashmere – yes, I’m that ugly-dressed person in the library at 8am thru 9pm and every one else looks sooooo much more glamorous than I do!

    Also, to add to the list, I would suggest:

    – Lip balm and hand cream to stay hydrated and feeling like your giving yourself a little luxury by applying some every hour away from your books
    – A water bottle (I buy a 2litre bottle at the start of the day and make sure it’s done by the time I leave the library)
    – Slipper socks – throw off those clumpy shoes under your desk and get cozy. You won’t wanna walk back and forth to the bathroom in your regular socks, so get some with those plastic grippers underneath and they’ll feel more like slippers for walking to shelves, bathroom, etc.
    – Tissues. No one likes a sniffer. I have given I don’t know how many snifflers tissues, and it has saved me from hours of listening to them.
    – If you’re feeling sick, bring things that make you feel comfortable like a big soft scarf if you have a sore throat, or a nasal decongestant if you’re suffering from a cold.

    Thanks for the awesome post!
    Gigi
    XOXO

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