With finals week upon colleges all across the United States, (and other countries) the pressure is on to succeed and prevail against the most important phase of any semester. For many students, passing or failing this test will determine whether they graduate, proceed, or otherwise prove their knowledge in their degree. I am not exempt to this situation myself, and trust me I am just as stressed!
That being said, today’s post will be a short one, as I have to return to my own battles against the monster that is finals myself. Worryingly, many students around these fretful days have a tendency to panic themselves and drain their mental strength before they ever get to the test! If you’re one of those students, then this post is for you. I’m here to provide you with a few pointers to make sure you survive finals week!
Tip #1: Food and rest are your friends!
I know what you’re thinking: Gee Emily, thanks for that news flash. However, I’m deathly serious. I work a fluctuating schedule at my job, and attend school twice a week all day. When I’m done with both locations, I’m usually at home either writing or studying for my next exam, project, etc. This gets in the way of my sleep schedule a lot, mostly because afterwards I always want to force a little extra time for a game or a book. (Hence I end up with five or even fewer hours of sleep as opposed to a healthier 7-8)
What I’m more referring to is that especially during Finals Week, you should aim for at least seven to eight hours of rest, if not six at bare minimum. This will help you be more alert by the time you go into class for that test.
Eating healthy also falls into this category. Take the time to have a full breakfast, don’t skimp out and take a bag of chips or just some water or juice. Your body and mind needs energy to be able to focus and produce results! Otherwise, failing to eat will see you dozy at your desk.
Tip #2: Take breaks whilst studying.
We all know the type, perhaps you fall into the category yourself. You wait until the day before to cram, cram, and cram some more for your exam. This leads to frustration, a late night, and anxiety the following morning as you try to recall everything at once before and during your test.
You stop that.
When exams are coming up, you should take care to study well before the date, and break up the study with fifteen to twenty minute relax sessions every hour (or two!) session. This helps keep your mind from getting overwhelmed, and also lowers tension and stress levels. I like to break up my study with a little drawing or snack time every couple of hours. Taking walks also helps, especially since it gets your body moving and loosens any cramps you might have from studying.
You’ll find that your mind will also retain information better with practice, not just breaks. Finished studying a chapter? Take the time to quiz yourself on some aspects of it. Review vocabulary, important cases, or literary elements. (This is where a study guide comes in handy!) If you’re not feeling quite good with a break, turn it into a practice quiz session!
Tip #3: Your University is there to help.
This one may or may not apply to your college or university depending on how large it is. Most educational institutions, however, have several events during or the week before finals to help students with test related stress and problems. My school recently hosted a break session between finals where students could gather on the courtyard and pet a bunch of dogs! (Fun Fact: Petting animals releases oxytocin in your brain, which helps lessen stress levels, and makes you happier!) Some schools set up little ‘snack bars’ or counseling booths to help cope with busy schedules too.
If you’re feeling particularly depressed or anxious however, I encourage you to call your school’s help/counseling line. Schools have these phone lines specifically to help students cope with the stress of going to college. I’ve used them myself when my anxiety gets out of hand, and it definitely helps to talk to someone who can put things back into perspective. Your university (or community college) is not your enemy, they are there to help. They understand that not everyone is built the same and that exams take a toll on anyone’s mental capacity, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Good luck on your exams!
Whatever your case may be, I wish you the best of luck on your exams. I hope these few tips will help you take a moment to breathe and practice a little self-care. God only knows we all need it once in a while. Remember, you can do this! This test will not ruin you, and there will always be sunshine after the storm that comes, whether you pass or fail.
I encourage you to go at your exams with every bit of vim and vigor you can muster, because I’m definitely rooting for you!
Thanks for reading and as always…stay curious!