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As students return from Thanksgiving break, many are beginning to prepare for the upcoming finals period, navigating stress and exam preparation.

November 28, 2022

Students Navigate Stress, Exam Preparation as Finals Period Approaches

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As the fall semester comes to a close, students are preparing for the upcoming finals period, facing stress and navigating study resources for the exam-filled week.

With classes ending on Dec. 5, the three-day study period allows students to dedicate their time to studying and working on final projects, without the obligation of classes. Finals will begin on Dec. 9 and end on Dec. 17.

Students largely expressed feeling overwhelmed about their upcoming final exams, saying that they feel they have little time to prepare before the finals period begins.

“I have one [exam] the first Saturday and then also Sunday. It’s very front loaded this year,” said Emily Crites ’25. “ I feel like I’m still catching up, making sure I know all the material the first time around.”

Anjali Kulkarni grad echoed this sentiment, though she also appreciated the respite from work that Thanksgiving break provided.

“I think it gave me some time to take a step back, regroup and be more mentally prepared for what’s coming,” Kulkarni said, noting the additional stress of her upcoming graduation from her Masters of Engineering program this semester.

Kristen Moon ’25 also said she enjoyed taking time off from schoolwork, but she felt that the University-designated days for Thanksgiving break did not provide enough time for her to travel home.

“I did skip the Monday and Tuesday last week, so, with skipping, [the break] was enough, but I feel like if I had gone to classes on Monday and Tuesday, it wouldn’t have been,” Moon said. “I live in Oregon, so if I didn’t skip, there wouldn’t have been enough time to get home.” 

As they begin to study for final exams, students said that additional office hours were a helpful resource.

“Office hours have always been really good for me — being able to go meet with my TAs, my professors,” said Grace Ryan ’24. “I make sure that I’m on track with everything, that I know what I’m preparing for.” 

Kelly Jiang grad said she especially appreciates office hours from course teaching assistants, who help make the material more accessible.

“My TAs are great. They’re always there if you have questions, they respond to emails really quickly and they go over the material in a way that we understand a lot better than the professor does,” Jiang, who is concluding her first semester as a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, said. “They’re a lot less intimidating to go [to] and ask questions.”

Despite this support from professors and course staff, some students expressed frustration at having to take multiple final exams in one day. During finals week, Moon and Crites both have two exams scheduled in one day, with one exam in the morning and another at night.

“I wish the two tests in one day were illegal,” Moon said.

Ryan said she wished finals period allowed for more flexibility with rescheduling exams to avoid taking multiple in the same day, though she acknowledged the difficulty in providing this accommodation to every student.

“I know this is a very difficult thing — especially with big classes, because everyone has very different schedules — but I always end up having multiple exams on the same day, and I just wish there was some way around that,” Ryan said. 

Although she expressed feeling stressed about finals week, Moon said she appreciates the support from her professors.

“There are a lot of study materials already out. I think [professors] want us to start preparing, and they support us in that way,” Moon said. “They’re encouraging us to study and do well. They’re trying to set us up for success.”