The words “final” and “exam” are harmless until they are put together in the dreaded sequence “final exam.” Here is a public service announcement: final exams are scheduled to begin a week from today. Stressed? No way, you got this! Below are a few tips to help you minimize stress and maximize your confidence come exam time.
Sleep is a precious thing. That’s why babies look adorable while sleeping. If you can say that you got enough sleep 85% of the semester, congrats and skip ahead. If you can’t, then pay attention. Sleep is important for brain function- that’s common knowledge. Your body needs rest, especially during this high-stress time period. Start planning and implementing a sleep schedule now. It may seem crazy going to bed at 11:00 in college, but it is possible. Allow yourself to get enough sleep at night and soon you will be waking up refreshed and ready to go rather than groggy. Start sleeping properly now and your body will get plenty of rest come exam time.
Flashcards aren’t always the answer.
Many courses, while emphasizing understanding, tend to lean toward memorization and regurgitation of material. This then coerces you to the go-to method of making flashcards. However, flashcards are only useful in memorization. In courses where you have to understand large concepts or mechanisms you may find flashcards counterproductive. Instead, try drawing out concepts and mechanisms on copy paper. If you have to understand blood flow in a heart, print out a basic (but unlabeled) hear diagram and use red and blue pens to show direction. Also try explaining things to yourself out loud. This may help you catch where things don’t sound correct.
Spending so much time studying in the library leaves little time for proper consumption. Don’t let yourself get caught up in ramen, poptarts, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It is important to eat properly in order to provide your body the right fuel for getting things done. Eating sugar, caffeine, and carbohydrate loaded foods may give you incredible energy at first but also come with a quick drop in energy after some time. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, protein, and drink plenty of water in order to ensure your body can operate at maximum potential.
Hitting the gym isn’t a waste of time.
Many students find that spending time at the gym versus studying is a bad idea. Wrong. Your body needs to move. It’s also a great stress relief. Going to the gym can also be productive. You can study while you work out! Equipment like the bicycles and ellipticals have little shelves on them you can use to hold papers, flashcards, and books. You may need to learn to multitask, but it can help use your time wisely if you’re in a crunch. Just be sure to exercise a few days of the week during this week and next to make sure that your body gets enough movement and minimize stress.
Finals week won’t be so scary if you start preparing ahead of time. Take steps now to make sure that you are fully ready. Start hitting the books now on the topics that you struggle most with. Sleep, eat, and exercise. Most importantly: just breathe. Hard work pays off and within a few days you’ll be able to return home and relax for nearly a month! What could be better? Good luck!