It’s that time of year—the dreaded F word—FINALS.
Students everywhere are getting anxious for the worst week of the semester, with mid-terms being a close second. It is safe to say there is a lot of dread, denial, and procrastination. Finals week brings an overwhelming amount of stress. If you have worked hard and kept up all semester, you should be in good shape. We have put together a list of ideas to help you manage the build up to finals.
Turn it off: No not school or your brain, the phone. Take a social media break and spend your time focusing on your studies. Some students even report enjoying the break from it all. Seriously, you will survive.
Stop: Cramming doesn’t help. Every hour take a 5-10-minute break. Take a deep breath, move and stretch. Visit with a friend or a parent. Talking, not texting gives you an energy boost. Take this time to step outside and take in some fresh air and nature. Even if you are in a cold climate, that change in scenery will do you good.
Eat Healthy: Stress causes many people to reach for the comfort food; candy, chips and sodas all give you that quick boost, but they also give that fast crash. Feed your brain cells with healthy foods to keep your energy levels up, your immune system strong, and your body functioning at its best. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lack of adequate consumption of specific foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is associated with lower grades. Don’t forget to hydrate. Water is best.
Exercise: We all know exercise reduces stress. Even taking 20 minutes out of your studies to exercise will help your brain to function at a higher level. The CDC states higher physical activity and physical fitness levels are associated with improved cognitive performance.
Sleep: A resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School shares that healthy sleep is essential for optimal learning and memory function. First, a sleep-deprived person cannot focus attention optimally and therefore cannot learn efficiently. Second, sleep itself has a role in the consolidation of memory, which is essential for learning new information. Napping is the next best option. Here is guide for an optimal napping experience based on your needs.
Know what you need to know: Do you have a solid A in algebra and basically showing up keeps it? If yes, don’t focus your studies there as long. Look for the classes where the final could make the difference between a letter grade and keep your attention there. Some exams will be more difficult than others, some you may find easier to study for. Commit time where it is most needed.
Find your study space: Can you study in your room? Are you better at the library? Create an environment that will help you stay focused and consider that your study space. Avoid your bed or couch and keep those areas your relaxation zone.
Give it your best: Go into each test with a positive attitude and try your hardest. It isn’t a race. There is no prize for finishing first. Take your time and recheck your work. You’ve got this.