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Build a Finals Week Survival Kit


April 21, 2023

Oh, finals week – the bane of every college student’s existence. It’s that dreaded time when the library becomes your second home, sleep deprivation is the norm, and you survive on a diet of caffeine and sheer willpower. But fear not! We’ve got just the remedy for you. We’ll show you how to assemble a finals week survival kit that’ll make you laugh in the face of sleepless nights and overflowing study guides. So sit back, take a deep breath, and get ready to gear up for academic victory!

Heads up! All of the products we recommend in this post offer discounts, cash back, or both for Community members. Add our new Chrome extension to your browser to discover instant savings whenever you shop online!

Create a Comfortable Finals Week Study Environment  

Just a few key items can make study sessions more pleasant and productive. Sure, you can do finals week without them, but they just might help you thrive. And they’ll continue to be useful as you either roll into summer break or prepare for your career as a newly minted grad.

Desk Lamp for Late-Night Studying

You may have survived this long without a good desk light, but do you really want to try to ace finals week in the dark? You’re going to be studying late into the night, which means you need good lighting. 

Our recommendation: Limelights Gooseneck Organizer Desk Lamp with iPad tablet stand/book holder and USB port 

Laptop Stand for Ergonomic Typing

You and your laptop are good buddies, but hours spent typing and scrolling can take a toll on your body. A laptop stand can help reduce strain on your wrists and hands and eliminates the need to look down to see your laptop screen. Raising your laptop off your desk also provides ventilation, prevents scratches and spills from damaging your laptop, and frees up space on your desk.

Our recommendation: MOFT Invisible Laptop Stand

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Background noise can be a huge distraction. Good noise-canceling headphones may be a splurge, especially on a student budget, but they’re worth it. Imagine lo-fi beats massaging your brain as you study. Mmm! Brain massage!

Our recommendation:  Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones

Essential Oil Diffuser

Many essential oils are valued for their ability to increase focus and concentration, including rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, sweet basil, and sage. Get the benefits of these oils to supercharge your study time by using them in a diffuser. (Bonus: It might help cover up the aroma of your roommate’s workout clothes. You’re welcome!)

Our recommendation: PureSpa Essential Oil Diffuser and an aromatherapy essential oils set

Stock Up and Stay on Schedule

Get the essential organizing and office supplies you need to help your week run more smoothly. Here are a few things to make sure you have on hand!

Office Supplies for Study Success

  • Highlighters and pens for effective notetaking and planning
  • Sticky notes for saving your place or posting a reminder
  • Index cards for creating flashcards or keeping organized notes
  • Planner or calendar to organize study sessions and deadlines
  • Sticker book for adding stress-busting fun to your planner

Fuel Your Body and Mind

Students cannot live on caffeine alone. (At least, it’s not advisable.) There’s no time for cooking or hitting the dining hall, so fuel up between takeout orders or PB&Js with some healthy snacks and a mix of caffeinated (because reasons) and healthy beverages. 

Fresh Berries & Nuts

Research has shown that berries and nuts have a positive effect on your brain and improve cognition. Is it an instant fix that’s going to make your brain “automagically” fire on all cylinders? Well, perhaps not. But getting into the habit of enjoying nuts and berries as a snack is definitely worthwhile – they’re healthy, and they’re brain food.

Energy Bars

No, you shouldn’t try to survive on a diet of energy bars. But during finals week, energy bars are super fast and convenient, making them perfect for an on-the-go snack that will hold you over until your next meal. Pick something with protein to keep your brain fueled and avoid a carb crash. 

Our recommendation: KIND energy bars


If you’re a coffee drinker, then you know – there’s no substitute for a cup of java when you need some energy. There’s also no time to hit Starbucks. (Plus, the amount of caffeine you’re going to need might exceed your Starbucks budget. No judgment!) Having coffee you can brew yourself is the way to go!

Our recommendations: 


Not into coffee? Tea can give you a boost, too, particularly if it’s got a bit of a caffeine kick. Just add hot water and any other adornments (like milk, honey, or lemon) you’ve grown to love. Sipping tea can be either calming or energizing, depending on what you drink!

Our recommendation: High Caffeine Tea from Republic of Tea

Healthy Soda

Is soda more your jam? We get it. But sugar is not great brain fuel. If you’re a soda drinker, you may want to swap out your sugary beverage for something healthier. Olipop sodas are not only low in sugar but high in fiber with gut-friendly ingredients that are good for your digestive health.

Our recommendation: OLIPOP soda varieties

Good Ol’ Water

Studies have shown that being just 2% dehydrated can lead to brain fog. Who needs that, especially during finals week? Keep water on hand and remember to drink it regularly as you study to stay sharp. Water may not be glamorous, but it’s essential. Get a swanky tumbler to drink from if you find plain water boring; that’ll amp up the fun. 

Our recommendation: S’well Tumbler with Straw

Prioritize Mental Health to Survive Finals Week

It’s tempting to burn the candle at both ends during finals week. But taking time to relax and recharge will actually help you do better on exam day, so be sure to schedule some downtime. Here are a few stress-relievers you can use between study sessions, or even just when you take a few moments at your desk to pause and process.

  • Fidget spinner for … Whee! Dopamine!
  • Popping fidget toy for all the fun of bubble wrap without the waste
  • Meditation app for Oooohhhmm

Here are some of our favorites. 

Fidget Spinner

Sometimes you just need to sit and spin. Fidget spinners are cheap, come in fun colors (some with lights!), and give your hands something to do while your brain processes so. much. stuff. Besides, although there’s not much research around them, fidget spinners may help students with ADHD stay on task.

Circle Rainbow Push Pop It Fidget Toy

So maybe you’d rather pop than spin. We totally get it. This circle rainbow pop-it will give you all the fun of a sheet of bubble wrap without the associated eco-stress. (Wanna pop and spin? ¿Por qué no las dos?)

Calm App

Finals week is stress-inducing, no doubt about it. Get a handle on your stress – which can adversely affect academic performance – through mindfulness and meditation. The Calm app has guided meditations, music, breathing exercises, and more to help combat stress and to help focus, too, making it a great resource before and during finals week.  

Related: How to Meditate: Tips for Finding Inner Calm

Take a Walk

Yes, when you’ve got a lot to do, the idea of taking a walk can leave you muttering, I’m taking a stupid walk for my stupid mental health. But hear us out. Even just a little moderate physical activity is good for you! Walking has also been shown to boost cognitive performance in students. So, you know, there’s that.

Related: The Best Shoes for Campus Life & Study Abroad

Prepare for Test Day with a Great Night’s Sleep

Poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation have been shown to negatively impact academic performance, too. Shocker, right? So despite the heroic tales of all-nighters you’ve probably heard, getting some sleep is the real way to win finals week. If you’re struggling to sleep, these products might help. 

Good Side Silk Sleep Mask

This 100% silk sleep mask is super comfortable and gentle on the eye area. It stays in place with a thick elastic band to keep light out and help you sleep better.

YogaSleep Duet White Noise Machine

This sound machine goes way beyond white noise, offering 30 sound options including pink noise, brown noise, nature sounds, lullaby tracks, and more, to help you fall asleep faster. Plus, it’s a dimmable LED night light and a wireless speaker with Bluetooth connectivity.

GNC Melatonin Tablets

Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced naturally in the body to help regulate sleep and circadian rhythms. It’s a popular supplement to help with sleep in part because it’s not habit-forming like many other sleep aids. (Note that while melatonin is sold over the counter, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of sleep aid, especially if you’re pregnant or on other medication.)   

Som Sleep Original 12 Pack 

Som Sleep is a sleep aid you drink. Each 8-oz can contains melatonin, L-Theanine, GABA, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6 – all substances found within the body naturally – to help calm your mind and prepare your body for sleep. 

How to Get Your Finals Week Survival Kit on a Budget

We get it – most students don’t have unlimited funds to go on a finals week survival kit shopping spree. Here are some tips to help you save on the essentials you need!

Shop With Exclusive Offers & Cashback

Use your login to get sweet student exclusive savings and cash-back from our partners. It’s simple!

  • Pick items from this guide or visit Shop and browse your favorite retailers from dozens of categories.
  • When you select a store with a cash-back offer, click the “activate cash back” button (or choose a cash-back offer) to head to the store’s website. 
  • Make your purchases as usual, and in a few days, you’ll get a cash-back confirmation email from 
  • Every three months, if you have a cash-back balance of $10 or more, you’ll get your cash-back dividends through PayPal. (Otherwise, your cash-back balance will roll over until you have enough for a payout.)

Pro Tip: Add the Shop extension to your Chrome browser to discover instant savings from partners whenever you shop online!

Use Interest-Free Payment Options

Many retailers offer convenient interest-free payment plans such as PayPal’s Pay in Four, Klarna, or Afterpay. When you see these options at check-out, you’ll be able to split your purchase into payments that might be easier on your wallet.

Best of Luck During Finals Week!

As the sun sets on this finals week survival guide, we hope you find solace in these ingenious tips and recommendations. Remember, a well-prepared and rested warrior is the one who triumphs on the academic battlefield. With a comfortable study environment, essential supplies, nutritious snacks, stress-relievers, and quality sleep, you’ll be fully equipped to tackle any challenge that comes your way.