Finals Week – Everything You Need to Know

Exams are conducted in schools to measure the academic performances of the students. Likewise, college is not just filled with extracurricular activities, awesome projects, and clubs – at the end of each semester, students need to face their exams to get their final grades.

What is the Finals Week?

what is the college finals week

Finals week is the end of the semester when students have to face the final tests of the courses they are taking. Usually, finals are in the mid-April and mid-December of every year but it could change depending on the school.

College Finals

College finals week refers to two to four weeks at the end of the semester when college students are required to face the final exams for the courses they are taking which can be a written test with multiple choice questions or essays or both, presentations, and vivas, or projects.

What is Finals week Called in College?

A week or two before finals week in college is referred to as the dead week or the hell week by most college students. This is to refer to how hard this time period can be on students – but with correct study skills and strategies going through it will be much easier.

What to Expect

Normally, finals include exams and projects for each course the students are taking throughout the semester. It takes longer than the midterms, quizzes, and assignments – and can be made of many things including a written exam. So let’s find out what can you expect on finals week.

1. Cumulative Exams

Cumulative exams in college cover almost every topic that was discussed in the class and then some topics from previous related courses. In college, it will be given as a written exam including multiple-choice questions and essay-type questions.

Most cumulative finals exams in college could last 2-3 hours but depending on the subject it can even last for longer hours. These exams will be used to measure the academic performance of the students throughout the semester and give a grade accordingly.

2. Essays

Your finals for some subjects can be entirely based on essays. These are not essay-type questions but the teacher would expect you to write one or two long essays related to a topic that was covered in the class.

These types of tests are not given a set time to answer – but you will be most likely given a time period like a week or two to write the essays and submit them through the learning management system or handed them over directly to the teacher.

3. Online Exams

Apart from traditional cumulative exams – they can be also held as proctored online exams. After the Covid, this was often used to hold college final exams. These will most likely cover the topics discussed throughout the second half of the semester.

Just like your physical exams online exams can last around one to three hours depending on the course and the school. The exams can be either open-book exams or closed-book exams but you will be monitored through LMS.

4. Math Tests

If you are taking mathematics-related courses such as Statistics, Probability, or analytical courses – there can be math tests included with some simulation with software like Matlab. Mostly these will be given to students that are taking engineering majors students.

5. Take home Exams

Just like cumulative exams and online tests – take-home exams or take-home assignments are given to measure the understanding of the topics covered. The only difference is that there is no set time period to answer it – you would be given a deadline and during that time you can work on it at your own pace.

6. Final Reports

Final papers or reports test students’ ability to make proper arguments and defend findings according to their own research and evidence gathered through reading other papers. These reports are long – some can be 8-10 pages or 8000-10000 word count depending on the course.

Professors will show how the report will be granted marks. These reports usually have a deadline of one or two weeks once the topic was given. But depending on the difficulty you may be granted an extension for the submission.

7. Projects

Final projects are usually given at the start of the semester or after the mid-semester examinations. The professor would advise you to prepare project proposals and submit the project by the end of the semester or end of the finals week.

Projects can be individual projects or group projects depending on the course. These types of projects are given usually to computer science majors and engineering majors students. It measures many skills of the students such as project management, problem-solving, critical thinking skills, and time management skills.

8. Presentations

In some courses, the finals will be taken as a presentation – which can be either an individual presentation or a group presentation. These will help the professor evaluate the student’s ability to grasp the course content and the ability to orally defend the study material.

How to Study For Finals Tests

Finals tests are really tough on the students without a doubt – even compared to midterms. However, being prepared before can help the students get the best grade possible for each of the courses they are taking. Here are some of the final exam preparation tips that you could use to get your grade up.

  • Plan – At the start of the semester make a proper study plan to get the grade you want and stick to that plan.
  • Group Study – Gather up with a couple of friends taking the same courses and studying together – which makes studying much easier.
  • Study Environment – Pick a good place to study according to your needs – it could be the library or your dorm room but make sure you have everything you need with you.
  • Notes – Take notes using a good note-taking strategy that agrees with you such as Cornell’s Note-Taking method.
  • Refer – At the start of a course professors would recommend extra study materials such as textbooks or videos. Refer to them whenever you can and understand the content better.
  • Questions – If there are any topics that are hard to understand ask questions in the class or after the class from the professor to clarify them much better.
  • Tools – Use proper study tools like student planners, notebooks, and productivity tools even AI-like ChatGPT to make the learning process much easier.
  • Revise – Revise the notes you take at least once every two weeks – which will refresh your memory.
  • Health – Each proper meal and snacks while studying – hit the gym whenever you can and stay healthy.
  • Sleep – Studying all day alone won’t help anyone it will only do you more harm than good. So take enough sleep per day.
  • Don’t Cram – Don’t study for too long a day before the exam – it will only make you forget the things you’ve learned and increase exam anxiety.
  • Deadlines – Be aware of the deadlines given for you to submit take-home exams, or projects for the course.

Stay on Top of Everything

Finals week in college can last about a couple of weeks. This time period can be tough on the students – especially if they are taking a lot of courses for the semester. But with proper study tools and study strategies surviving finals week will be easier.