Although there are a lucky few who don’t suffer from any anxiety or stress related to finals, let’s face it, just about everybody else does. Whether you simply forgot to study or just zoned out on certain subjects, a few handy tips for relieving the anxiety could mean the difference between finals success and failure.
- De-Stress - Don’t let stress affect your finals’ performance. Try to relax and manage stress by not spending every moment studying or worrying about studying. Try to take regular breaks and do anything that you enjoy to de-stress, so that you can go back to studying with a clearer mind.
- Eat - Having butterflies in your stomach could smash your normal voracious appetite to bits, but being hungry can be distracting whether you’re studying hard or taking a test when hunger hits. This one is really a significant factor when taking longer tests, such as ACTs or SATs. Plan your meals for finals week and carry backup snacks that are healthy, yet appealing. Sure, finals mostly involve your mind, but you can’t have a healthy mind when your body is starving because you were too busy worrying about finals to remember to eat right.
- Sleep - Even though a good night’s sleep the night before an exam is ideal, sometimes it’s difficult to shut off your mind and stop tossing, turning and flopping around on your bed like a dying fish. So, if you think you might be too stressed to sleep the night before, try catching up on some extra Z’s the week before the big exam by a little bit each night. So, resist the urge to party the week before, catch up on your sleep, and catch up on the partying the week after. By then, you can have a few extra beers to celebrate, or a lot more to commiserate with all your friends who didn't do so well on their finals.
- Study Buddy - Studying with a friend can help with both motivation and stress management. But, be careful who you choose, as a study buddy could turn out to be a distraction rather than a motivator.
- Don’t Cram - If you do cram the night before, you probably won’t remember most of it. It’s better to study the subject earlier in the week and then go with a light review the night before the exam. Besides, cramming just adds to the stress and anxiety.
- Hard or Easy - It’s a fact that studying the material that is easiest for you will give you added confidence, but those hard questions will pop up sooner rather than later. So, devote maximum time to the hardest subject matter early on and deal with the easier stuff when you get closer to test day.
- Prepare - If an unfamiliar setting causes you anxiety, reduce the stress by duplicating the actual setting where you will be taking the test and do a couple of dry runs. Imitating the situation you will be in, right down to the pencils you will use and the timer ticking away, could help it all to feel less foreign and way less intimidating.
- Perspective - Though you may not see it now, your academic career will really not be made nor destroyed by a single test. A bad test result could feel overwhelming and demoralizing at the time, but try to remember that most successful graduates have had at least one at some time in their lives.