Admissions Blog: How to survive finals week

Dog therapy
Dog Therapy happens every fall and spring during exams at Sweet Briar.

It’s that time of year: Finals are here, and across the country, high school and college students are cramming for exams. If you’re one of them, you’re likely in a bit of a frenzy right now. Here’s some advice: Relax. Get some sleep. You got this! And then there’s more advice on how to survive the most stressful time of the school year, from our Sweet Briar admissions counselors and student ambassadors.

  1. Study With FriendsSavanna Klein

“Study with a group! You don’t have to work on the same thing, but sometimes having a group of people studying around you can help motivate you and keep you accountable. Just make sure you choose a group that will help you focus, and not constantly distract you.” — Savanna Klein ’16, admissions counselor


  1. Take a Time-out

    Taylor Jefferson

“One thing I always do to help myself through exams is schedule time for myself. It’s really important to be able to take a break from everything that causes stress. I schedule alone time for myself — whether it’s tanning time or TV time or cleaning my room or even just to eat and go brain-dead. If you’re constantly working, then you’re not taking care of yourself, and self-care is the most important thing.” — Taylor Jefferson ’19, dance education major


  1. Use Your Senses

    Savannah Oxner

“Color-code your notes and listen to music. If you can, rewrite your notes with different color pens and use different color highlighters. Sketch and make appropriate doodles, too, so you can add another layer to the visual element of your notes. And try listening to music you love but are really familiar with; listening to new music when you’re studying can be distracting.” — Savannah Oxner ’05, senior admissions counselor


  1. Study Somewhere New

    Victoria Stacpoole

“The best piece of advice I have ever been given is to study somewhere new. It is particularly effective if you only ever study in your room or with friends. Switching where you study puts you in a fresh frame of mind and allows for you to consider things differently. Break up your routine!” — Victoria Stacpoole ’20, history and international affairs major


  1. Get Some Dog TherapyTaylor Patterson

“Make sure you attend the dog therapy in the Vixen Den! Studies show that interactions with animals can decrease stress in humans. Stop by and take a mental break to pet some of the professors’ dogs.” — Taylor Patterson ’16, admissions counselor


At Sweet Briar, finals week is probably a little different from what you’re used to, especially if you’re coming from a large high school. Here, exams take place over several days and are self-scheduled. In many cases, they’re take-home tests you can literally take with you to wherever you’re most comfortable. Some students finish all their exams in just a day or two, while others decide to spend more time studying and using the whole week to complete all of their course requirements. You can learn more about academics at Sweet Briar here.