As the impending doom of finals week looms over us, students everywhere are pulling out their hair as they prepare for the most stressful season of all. Here are a few tips and tricks to minimize your stress levels and help you do well on your exams.
Hit the Rec
Feeling overwhelmed by a heavy load of coursework? Take a break and exercise at the rec center to alleviate stress and regain focus and concentration. Exercise is proven to boost blood flow to the brain, which can help you stay sharp and improve your memory while studying.
Get plenty of sleep
A common college tradition is to stay up all night before an exam for a cram study session. Scientifically, the brain is unable to retain a majority of the information it takes in during late-night studying. It is better to study up ahead of time and get a good night’s sleep so your brain is sharp and ready to recall information.
The life of a college student can be pretty irregular, but when it comes to finals week it is best to stick to a study schedule. Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to absorb information before an exam. Prioritize your tasks to make the most of your time — time management is key when you have so many due dates so close together.
Take a break
Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in your workload, breaks are crucial to review and to digest information. Studying non-stop will only break your concentration and make it harder to motivate yourself to keep going. Rather than studying for three hours straight, take short five-to-10-minute breaks every hour so your brain doesn’t burn out.
Put down the junk food
Even though you may be tempted to reach for the Hot Cheetos or Ben & Jerry’s in the midst of stress, try to eat healthier foods to nourish your brain cells. Junk food may give you short bursts of energy, but in the long run it only impairs your focus and your memory. Carrots and ranch are a great study snack, and also still give you the crunch you crave. Try to eat a protein-rich snack before heading into an exam to keep your brain fueled for the duration of the test and make sure to drink plenty of water.
Get a study buddy
Take advantage of study groups and get together with classmates to help you study more efficiently. Studying with someone else will help you stay motivated to get through all the material and two brains working together is always better than one. Study buddies are also great because you can ask for help if you are having trouble understanding a topic.
Yes, final exams seem pretty monumental and important right now. But five years from now you won’t even remember why you were so stressed out. Keep your head up and keep your mental health in check.