Ugh, it’s almost here again. The most dreaded time of the year: exam season! It’s really easy to end up running on three hours of sleep, an energy drink in one hand, and a bag of chips in the other. While finals may make you want to pull our hair out, there are ways to handle the stress that will make your life so much easier. Check out the tips below to make your finals period go a little more smoothly.
Scientists universally agree that exercise is a great way to calm down, as it lowers the body’s stress hormones. While your time during finals season may seem crunched enough anyway, taking a half hour to go to a yoga class or to take a quick jog around campus will actually make you more productive. Most universities have exercise classes that are free of charge to students, so take advantage of it and try to pencil one in. You will help out your mind, body, and studying!
2. Don’t Forget to Eat
Even when it’s the middle of finals week and all you can think about is studying, you still have to eat. Meals are one of the prime times to be social during college, and scheduling meals with your friends can be a great way to build in a fun study break. Laughing over pancakes with three of your best friends or grabbing dinner with your roommate is the perfect way to ensure that you take breaks, get social support, and receive nourishment all in one go!
3. Make a Study Plan
Studying for finals without a plan is like going on a road trip without using a map. At the start of finals, make a note of the date and time of each exam using your planner or an online calendar. Then, fill in some of your remaining time with study sessions. Think about which classes will take the most preparation, then set goals for each class each day of finals. Here is an example of what your day’s study goals might look like:
Monday Study Goals
- Chemistry: Read textbook chapters 1-3
- English: Finish the MLA bibliography for my research paper
- Math: Do practice problems from lessons 2-6
- Physics: Study lecture notes from lectures 1-4
Leaving a day or two before the exam to do practice problems or to brush up on hard concepts is always a good idea, and it will prevent you from scrambling. This will keep you super organized, and having a plan will make you feel much less stressed.
When you’re knee-deep in work and are trying your best to get everything finished, taking a break to clean doesn’t always sound like the most fun or worthwhile alternative to studying. However, taking the time to clean up your room will make you feel so much more on top of things. Going to bed with books and clothes strewn all over the floor can just add to the weight of all that you have to do. So, take a few minutes and hang up your clothes, straighten up your desk, and take out the trash. You will thank yourself later when you can focus on your work and not the crumpled-up laundry pile right next to you.
5. Get Enough Rest
Everyone seems to think that cramming for tests has to be a big part of the college experience. Staying up until 3 a.m., waking up at 6 a.m., and chugging coffee all day is not super sustainable when you have final exams almost everyday.
Studies show that sleeping well will help you maximize your test scores, so staying up late might not be helpful after all. If you really cannot get the seven recommended hours of sleep a night, treat yourself to a nap during the day. Getting rest will help your performance and make you feel less stressed. You will be more focused and better able to knock out your studying tasks.
There is no doubt that finals period is the most stressful part of the semester. It may sound weird, but part of effective studying during finals involves self-care, socializing, and setting your priorities. As a whole, it all prepares you for the exams more than just studying alone. Taking the time to destress can help boost your scores and make this time just a little more enjoyable.
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