The mere mention of the word “finals” can send many students into a tailspin. It is not uncommon for students to have up to six exams in a week during finals. The feeling of being overloaded and unsure if you can handle it all is what leads to stress and more often than not, doing things to the extreme. However, anything in excess may not necessarily help you pass the test. In the coming weeks students around the country will be preparing for end of semester exams. Here are five simple ways to stress less during finals.
1) Don’t Bully Yourself
We have all fallen prey to that voice in our head that makes us doubt whether we can accomplish something. We start by saying things like, “there is no way I’m going to be able to study all of this," “I am just not good in this subject” or “I’m going to fail." Keep telling yourself negative things and you will be right. Instead, when you hear the voice talking you out of studying, counter that talk and say things like “Today, I am going to read one chapter," “I can get this done” or “I am going to do my best."
2) Find a Study Group
There are many benefits to joining a study group. Howtostudy.com, a resource for students, suggests that if your motivation to study is slipping, other members can be a source of encouragement. If you are stressed about your workload, Alan Sokal, professor of physics at New York University and professor of mathematics at University College London says, “Study groups with fellow students are an excellent idea. But, make sure that everyone participates and contributes; and after you have solved a problem (for example, in a math course), make sure that everyone in the group understands and agrees why the solution is correct.” He also recommends that students should “make a plan for how you will use whatever study time you have and go to the professor's office hours to ask questions; don't be shy or embarrassed, his/her “job” is to help you learn, and he/she is receiving a salary (albeit a modest one) to do it.”
3) Try A Little LOL Therapy
Laughter is a good remedy for stress and that’s no joke. A hearty laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good relaxed feeling.
4) If You Want An A, Get Some ZZZ’s
If you are worried about your grades it can be hard to sleep. However, cramming for a test instead of getting rest the night before you take an exam may hamper your ability to do well. Sleep helps you retain what you study, process information and concentrate.
5) Attack Snacks
Your body can handle stress a lot better when you are eating the right foods. Vitamins and minerals that you get from food will keep your energy and mood in sync. Lisa Young, adjunct professor of nutrition at NYU says, “Eat small meals throughout the day…[but] consider portion-sized snacks rather than eating from the whole bag."
The best way to approach finals is to think of them as a sprint rather than a marathon. How you start is critical, so come up with a plan of action rather than trying to figure things out as you go along. Keep your efforts focused so that distractions don’t take you too far off course and you’ll be across the finish line in no time.
Andrea Peterson is CEO and Founder of STEM University, a clothing collection that celebrates college life and students studying in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Fields. You can follow her on Twitter @stemuniversity.