Surviving “Hell Weeks” in College

Hell week: when all of your professors decide to give you an exam in the same week. Typically, you’ll have 3-4 “hell weeks” per semester, and luckily, I just survived my first for this fall semester. In college, many, if not all of your classes, are timed to where their exams will always fall on the same week, and let’s be honest, it makes your life a living hell (hence the hell week reference). However, there are ways to make these weeks a little less painful. I was a 4.0 student all of last year and seem to be on track for this semester so far, so here are a few of my tips and tricks that might help you do your best and kick ass this semester and the rest of your college experience to come…

1. If you’re goin’ through hell, keep on going


As the famous Rodney Atkins song says, you’ve got to just “keep on going, don’t slow down, if you’re scared don’t show it”. Bottom line is, there’s no avoiding these hell weeks, so you’ve got to get through it one way or another. Have the mentality that there is an end in sight, and you’ll be so proud of yourself when it’s all said and done. The key is that you can’t slow down or quit!

2. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses


You simply aren’t going to have the time to study every bit of information for all of your exams in one week, so take the time to figure out what you know and what you don’t, so you can focus on what you need to and not waste time studying stuff you already understand. I know what you’re thinking… ‘WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING?!?!’ If this is really the case, which more than likely it’s not, make sure to study and memorize the key concepts and don’t worry about the details. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be able to figure out the tiny details from a good understanding of the broader picture.

3. Take a break and have a little fun


You will be more successful if you have several short study periods as opposed to cramming for hours and hours the night before. Give yourself some time to relax and do something you enjoy. You might feel like you have to study nonstop the day before an exam, but this could really hurt you more than help you because you’ll just overwhelm yourself, and your retention levels will decrease rapidly. I like to go to the gym to get my mind off of the material and to send some positive endorphins to my brain to boost my mood and give myself a little extra energy. Whatever you like to do, find a way to fit it into your hell week, and I promise, those few hours of fun will really help.

Last, but certainly not least, always, always, always remember that you are smarter than you think you are. Unfortunately, so many students are their own worst enemy. They freak themselves out, over-think everything, and do way worse on a test than they should. Relax, be confident in yourself, and try your best. And of course, when you’re finished, celebrate! You made it through a really tough week and deserve to have some fun. Of course you might be absolutely exhausted, so there is no shame in celebrating by a night in with pizza and Netflix! I hope that at least one of these tips will help you with your future hell weeks, and if you have a helpful tip, comment down below!


Megan LouAnn


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