As we approach summer we are also very quickly approaching what is quite possibly the most stressful time of the year for any student …. end of the year final exams. Regardless if you are a high school, undergrad or graduate student, the weeks leading into finals can have a stressful impact on your entire life. The importance of passing these tests can take a toll on anyone but we can’t forget to take care of ourselves during this demanding time. Max is here to give you some pointers on how to prepare for testing without all of the stress, anxiety and chaos that is bound to come with.
- Get out of your own head
It is easy to be consumed with negative thoughts during finals. You are probably telling yourself “I don’t have enough time,” “I’ll never pass this exam,” “I don’t get it,” but just having these thoughts can cause you stress. Replace those thoughts with positive ones. Tell yourself “I can do this,” “I have all of the time I need,” “I’m going to pass this exam and this class.” Simply making an effort to replace your negative thoughts can help you feel less anxious about what is to come.
- Make yourself a list (even if you aren’t a list person)
Sometimes when we have a lot going on and feel like we are surrounded by chaos, our memory can fail us. As if we weren’t already stressed enough, now we are forgetting certain activities or dates and adding even more stress! A simple list can help eliminate the feeling of “Am I forgetting something!?” Find a piece of paper and pen and get to work brainstorming a list of everything that you must complete during finals week and keep it with you at all times. Each time you complete a task on the list, cross it off for a glorious moment of instant gratification. As you continue to cross-off items from your list, you will feel weight being lifted from your shoulders.
- Take care of yourself!
In the weeks leading up to or during the week of (or both), schedule some time out for yourself. Schedule an hour, an afternoon, 15 minutes or whatever you need to do something that is good for the soul. Go shopping, go out to eat, do your favorite workout, get coffee with a friend, watch some terrible reality TV. Do whatever is going to make you happy and give you a little break from all of the pressure you are facing. Carving out some time for you to relax and regroup is one of the best ways to keep your stress under control.
- Put down the energy drinks and go to sleep!
With a handful of tests dangling over your head it will feel necessary to push yourself to the limit and push sleep to the bottom of your to-do list. Even at times if it feels 100% essential, put down the energy drinks and coffee and get some ZZZs. Your body uses sleep to reenergize and rest so you can function properly the next day. Skipping sleep can make you feel irritable, groggy, and you guessed it… stressed! Use the list you made to plan your time wisely. Having a plan will make you feel better about going to sleep rather than staying awake all night long.
- Talk it out
You might want to talk or complain about finals. You might want to scream from the rooftop about how you are feeling. Regardless of which kind of talking you want to do, reach out to a family member or friend that you can vent to. Just talking about how you are feeling to someone close can help alleviate some of the built-up stress.
- Shake your distractions
When you are studying make sure to really focus on what you are trying to accomplish and stick to a study schedule. Getting distracted by constantly checking your social media or day-dreaming about your upcoming summer vacay can amount to a significant waste of time. Put your phone away and go to a quiet place to study. Staying completely focused will allow you to retain more and give you a feeling of preparedness.
- When it is over – CELEBRATE
Plan something big. Plan something small. Plan something fun! Having a celebration for yourself will give you something to look forward to and help you unwind after a crazy busy exam schedule. You can plan a celebratory dinner with family and friends, a weekend getaway or even a weekend of doing absolutely nothing. Reward yourself for all of your hard work and dedication to education!
Good luck and good vibes for a stress-free semester’s end!