It’s down to your last week of the semester, but you still have a ton of work ahead of you. Even worse, the majority of your grades depend on your academic performance this week. Stressed yet? We can relate.
Despite these obstacles, there are ways to make it through finals week without suffering a meltdown or failing a class. Here are a few pointers on how to keep your cool and come out ahead.
Panicking is a surefire way to blast your stress levels into the stratosphere, so consider approaching finals week with a confident mindset. It’s only a week, you’re going to accomplish everything you need to, and even the worst-case scenarios aren’t as bad as you think. It’s helpful to prioritize each final—either by how difficult it will be or by how much it will affect your final grade—and establish a plan of attack.
Before finals week
The OrgSync blog post, “How to Stay Calm During Finals Week,” from May 5, 2011, states that before finals week, there are four questions you need to answer:
1. How many exams do I have? Read your syllabus ahead of time to find out which classes require you to take a final and which classes the final is optional.
2. What structure is each final? Every professor likes to administer a final in his or her own unique way. The two most common formats include a comprehensive format, which covers material over the entire semester, and a partial final, which includes material from a certain period of time.
3. What notes do I need to collect before hand? After answering question two, you can now begin gathering relevant notes, homework, class lectures and any group discussions you’ll need to prepare yourself to be successful.
4. Where and when is my final? Note what time each final is and go find the physical location before hand, so you’re not swarming around campus minutes before your final. This may be obvious for many of you, however, it’s a detail that some overlook.
You should also try to adhere to your normal daily routine in addition to your study schedule. If you’re used to eight hours of sleep, three meals a day, and an afternoon jog, keep that up. You’ll be able to handle the stress of finals more easily if you stick to what keeps you comfortable on a day-to-day basis.
Rest up and relax
Kelci Lynn Lucier of About.com College Life shares some easy ways to help you make it through the madness better known as college in “How to Reduce Stress During Finals Week“:
- Spend 3-5 minutes not doing anything. This is often more challenging than it sounds. But take a few minutes to turn off all of your technology and sit and relax — even meditate, if you can. Those few minutes can calm your mind and your spirit while helping your refocus and recharge.
- Spend 15-20 minutes doing something purely for fun. The break for your brain will do wonders for its productivity later. Watch silly YouTube videos, read a trashy magazine, play a video game, or Skype with a friend far away.
- Get exercise in a low-stress situation. Translation: practice with your basketball team doesn’t count. Go for a relaxing walk, ride your bike without knowing where you’ll end up, or go for a quick jog. And if it’s too cold outside, try something new in the gym. You might be surprised by how relaxed — and energized! — you feel afterward.
- Make a list — and write down everything. For some, making a list can really help reduce stress because it helps put things in perspective. The best way to get things organized is to write down every single thing you need to do — like eating breakfast/lunch/dinner, doing laundry, getting some sleep, and going to class. Getting things written down — and then crossed off! — can do wonders for your sense of control and accomplishment.
We realize that stress can be an issue not just during finals week, but also throughout the semester. Any of the tips and tricks shared here can—and should!—be done whenever you’re feeling overwhelmingly anxious.
What other ways do you like to clear your mind during finals week? For more information on stress management and ways to cope with it, visit Questia where you’ll find millions of full-text books and articles.