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5 Tips for Coping with Stress During Finals Week
Many college students worry about final exams and the volume of work that needs to get done during the last few weeks of the semester. Although
some amount of stress during finals week is likely, here are some strategies that you can use to decrease the stress that studying and test-taking
can cause, as well as some tips for coping with the stress that you may experience.
Create a Study Schedule. Make a calendar marking the dates of exams and due dates for papers and projects. Make estimates for
the amount of time required to complete or study for each. From there, you can prioritize what needs to be accomplished each day. If you’re still feeling
overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to get done, focus on smaller goals, like accomplishing one task at a time. Breaking tasks up and taking care
of them piece-by-piece can help you focus and avoid the feeling that you need to get everything done in one sitting.
Study Strategically. Using the study schedule you made can help you feel that the work is more manageable. You can also try
studying in shorter increments. Avoid studying or working on the same project for more than two hours at a time. Mix it up—read for an hour, then switch
tasks and write for an hour. This may help you avoid study burn-out. Also, don’t deny yourself breaks. Get up and walk around every hour for at least 15
minutes, or connect with a friend to refresh yourself.
Read more strategic study tips »
Form a Study Group. Another good strategy for lower-stress studying is working with study groups from your classes.
Tap into the knowledge of others, as they may have strengths that complement your weaknesses in a class. Plus, getting together with a group and
discussing the course material may help you retain more. Interaction with these friends can also relieve stress, especially if the group can joke and
chat together while getting the work done.
Treat Your Body Right. Get enough sleep, eat healthy foods and exercise before and during finals week. Most research
says that the typical person needs at least 5 hours of sleep in order to retain the information they learned during the day and to be alert and functional
the following day. Staying up all night cramming can actually decrease your memory and ability to retain information. Also, eating healthy foods will
give you the energy and mental strength you need to focus. Exercise has also been shown to decrease stress. Work out in your school’s fitness center,
go for a walk or run outside or try yoga.
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Picture Your Success and the End of Finals Week. You know that this large amount of studying and test-taking can cause
stress for even the calmest individuals. Sometimes just thinking about your workload can cause more stress. Try not to let stress get the most of you;
rather, use it to harness your focus on the tasks at hand. Also remember that in a matter of days, finals will be over, and you will enjoy your 3-4 week
vacation between semesters.
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