Tag Archives: finals

Crash Guide To Acing Finals: Suggestions From A Senior

Filed under: College Life, Education, Tips - Angelina
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BookRenter Blogger Biography Cameron Tranchemontagne

Some people handle finals better than others, but for the majority of the college student population this is an incredibly stressful time. Time after time again, I have seen my peers work themselves into a state of perpetual anxiety induced by their fears over the outcome of their finals. They either feel that they have not studied enough, worry they studied the wrong material, or they let their procrastination get the best of them. But, when students obsessively worry about their finals, it can have detrimental effects. Some students find it harder to focus on individual tasks because of the sheer overwhelming amount of work constantly dividing their attention; some can’t sleep or force themselves to stay awake for unhealthy amounts of time; some turn to unhealthy decisions like Adderall (which should only be taken in small doses and only if prescribed by a doctor), which can cause liver damage and even addiction.

Finals can be stressful, but there are ways to overcome this challenge and walk away with pride.


I have struggled with anxiety in the past until I became a lazy and unmotivated teenager. I still struggle staying motivated to do my work, but I have come to realize that by being more laid back and not worrying so much about the material, I actually began to improve on my test and essay scores. I could more easily recall the information I had learned in class or studied for homework just by being more calm and collected. Then this brought confidence. If you feel that you are overwhelmed and drowning in work, take a break. Take a moment to think, reflect, breathe, and then plan out how you are going to approach your workload. Once you break it down on paper and have a solid plan, that Mt. Everest of work and responsibility is diminished to nothing but a bunny slope.


Simply telling yourself “everything is going to be ok” is not enough (but it helps with anxiety). You actually have to put in the work. Write down your plan of what you want to get done and how long it will take to accomplish. I like to write down my plan in a personal agenda or calendar, but plenty of people are more inclined to use their phones or tablets. In each box (day), I write down what I want to accomplish for that day and I mark the due date for assignments. For example, I may write in the box for 5/11 that I want to work on an introduction to an essay that is due Friday. I write in the Friday box what time the essay is due. I continue to break down the assignment throughout the week to make the assignment easier and less daunting. Having a specific plan and visualizing due dates can help to keep you on task and organized.

Take Breaks

Finally, as mentioned before, don’t forget to take a break once in a while. Most experts agree that studying in 1 hour blocks with 15 minute breaks is the most effective way to study. That is not to say that you should follow this model perfectly. Sometimes when I am studying, I like to keep going even past an hour just to keep my momentum up. I generally just take a break once I start having difficulty focusing. This is a signal to me that my brain is tiring and can no longer stay on one task. No matter how long it takes you, once you start to feel brain-dead, take a quick break. Get up from your workstation to get a change of scenery and work your blood flow. Try to find something else that will engage your brain and/or body. Playing music, taking a walk, getting a snack, or talking to a friend are all great break-time activities. Just remember to keep it short. Sometimes a “quick break” can easily derail a perfectly good study session.

Sleep Well

Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The brain simply cannot function at full capacity when it is sleep deprived. This will just make things harder for yourself. Avoid late night cram sessions and definitely do not pull an all-nighter, no matter how desperate you may be to study material. You will be guaranteed to crash during your exam if you do. Sleep actually helps memory function and helps to keep focus, which are things that are definitely needed for finals.

Always remember that if you don’t get your desired grade on a final, it is not going to ruin your life. Surround yourself with positivity. Listen to some feel-good music, hangout or study with your best friends, and always remember: everything is going to be okay. Everyone has the potential to do well; never doubt your abilities. Just give your best shot at finals – giving anything less than your best, will only cheat yourself.

Good luck!

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Dressing for Success

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Stan Whitcomb
Stan is a freshman at Santa Clara University. He is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a major in computer science. He is new to the blogosphere but is a seasoned writer (thanks English class!). In his free time, he likes to Dougie with his hallamtes and he is an avid Frisbee player.

In the real world, it is often the little things that matter. In Outliers, author  Malcom Gladwell describes the reasons for a plane crashing as being a lot of small catastrophes that combine to make a huge one. The same can be said for success. In order to be successful, one must combine many little opportunities and advantages to create a big one.

Wearing a lucky t-shirt (and even a shirt that declares it's lucky) could help you do better on exams. Photo by Teecycle Tim.

At some level, we all consider what we’re going to wear whether we are going to job interviews, hanging out with friends, and working out at the gym. If I wore slacks to work out that would be foolish; I can’t even imagine doing squats or playing basketball in them.  Instead, I wear basketball shorts because they are more functional than slacks.

You already knew this. But I’ll bet what you didn’t know is that you can apply these same principles to do better on exams!

That’s right. Studies have shown that wearing the correct clothing to tests will actually improve scores.  The best part is that no specific clothing is going to do it. It is what YOU think of the clothing.

Oddly enough, the significance you place on a particular item of clothing affects how you feel while wearing it. If you wear the same shirt to a sports game, you have a heightened chance of performing well simply because you believe in the power of that “lucky” shirt. You can make your own luck, you just have to trick your mind into believing in it.

So for your next exam week, try picking a shirt that makes you feel smart. Wear it to every test you take. If you wear it enough, you will begin to associate test taking with it, and thus become more comfortable taking any test because you and your mind are dressed for success.

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Keeping Cool During the Heat of Finals

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.

Finals are the best and worst parts of the term. On the one hand, it means one day closer to freedom (and summer!), but it also means time catching up and cramming is beginning to dwindle. During spring term when the sun is out, the last thing any of us want to do is sit inside and read through our notes and study guides.

The best thing to do is to create a balance between losing our marbles and having a little bit of fun during some well-earned study breaks.

Take a break and play frisbee with some friends! It'll get your endorphins going and help you study. Photo by Nathan Rupert.

The easy answer to making a little time for yourself during the upcoming finals period are things we do every day that may be taken for granted

  1. Go out for coffee with friends and take it on a walk. A walk around campus, or anywhere really, will help to get the blood flowing and reduce stress. The Vitamin D in sunshine will always help to increase your mood.
  2. When you are studying try to take breaks between subjects and items on your to-do-list. Even a fifteen-minute break from a subject will restart the creative juices and allow your brain to catch a little breathing room in between all of the information.
  3. Frisbee and pick-up basketball are perfect ways to relax from studying and stress while also increasing blood flow. The exercise combined with some friendly competition will release endorphins and give you a natural energy boost that just can’t be replicated by coffee after coffee.
  4. Take some time to just lie in the sun if you aren’t feeling athletically inclined. Just as taking a walk will help give you tons of Vitamin D, so too will relaxing in the sun. The Vitamin D will help with rejuvenating your brain and will also help you to return to studying faster. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep.

Overall, the important thing to remember is that you need to fully close the books and turn off the studying part of your brain while you take a break. Reading a magazine or a novel is still a break as long as your brain isn’t working hard to comprehend the material. Getting out of your chair and moving around will also help to make the break that much more rejuvenating.

Good luck with your finals!

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Enter to Win a Personalized Finals Survival Kit in BookRenter’s First Ever Pinterest Contest!

Filed under: Contests and Promotions - BookRenter Team
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Finals are next month, and before you get sucked into the black hole, help out the fellow BookRenters at your school by sharing your local survival tips. Is there a cubby hole in a nearby coffee shop that has amazing zen/qi/feng shui? Is Redbull the only thing that keeps you going? Create a Pinterest board with your secrets, and you could win a personalized Finals Survival Kit to help you make it through!

How can you win this life raft, you ask?

  • Follow BookRenter on Pinterest
  • You’ll need a Pinterest account to follow us, so if you don’t already have one, it’s easy to request an invite here. If you hit any snags, email us at promotions@bookrenter.com.
  • Create a Pinterest board titled “Finals Survival at ‘Insert your University Here’ – BookRenterStyle”. Only one entry board per person.
  • Pin at least 12 items sharing how you handle the stress. The winning board will be the one with the most repins, so we’d recommend more than the minimum.
  • Under each pin, include #bookrentercom and #finalssurvival
  • Once your board is finished, repin the original promo pin from BookRenter’s Pinterest page to your board so we are notified of your submission.
  • The contest runs April 3rd – April 9th and the winner will be announced April 10th

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Sugar Overload: Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.

The weather is getting colder. The fall season is long over and Thanksgiving has come and gone. Winter time means we are given little reprieve from classes and homework and tests and everything else professors throw our way. Winter break is almost here!

Winter break also means time with family, amazing food, and some seasonal winter movies. There is something irresistible about the aroma of warm spices and freshly baked goodies.  Mixing up batches of dough and baking trays of cookies while listening to holiday music is a great activity you can do during your time off.

Holiday-shaped sugar cookies with frosting are classic, yet are also an easy fall back. In addition, there are so many more choices for a new baking adventure!

Here are 2 great recipes to get you rolling (pun intended!):
(Gathered from allrecipes.com and foodnetwork.com)

Frosted Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

by allrecipes.com


  • 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 drops any color food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a good spreading consistency is reached. Stir in food coloring to desired shade. Decorate cooled cookies, and set on waxed paper to harden.

Peppermint Candy Cane Twists

by allrecipes.com


  • 1 package (18-ounce) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature (recommended:
  • Pillsbury), or home-made sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (recommended: McCormick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring


Cut the roll of cookie dough in half. Put the halves in separate large mixing bowls. In 1 bowl, thoroughly mix 1/4 cup of the flour and the peppermint extract into cookie dough. In the second bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and enough food coloring to make a red dough. Mix well with gloved hands until the color is well blended.

Divide the white and red dough into 24 pieces each, (for a total of 48 pieces). Roll each piece into a rope 8 inches long and about 1/4-inch in diameter.

To shape candy canes, arrange 1 rope of each color side by side on parchment lined cookie sheets. Gently twist together and shape into a candy cane. Repeat with the remaining pieces, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest, about 5 minutes, before transferring the cookies to racks. Gently remove them from the cookie sheets with a long metal spatula and cool on cooling racks.

What are you looking forward to baking this holiday season?

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