Finals week is starting this Thursday and it can be a stressful time, even if you are prepared. Here’s a couple tips to help you make it through exam week.
The exam schedule is different every semester so make sure to check the exam schedule well before your exams! Be sure you know exactly when and where your finals will be held. If you’re only finding out the time and place of the exam the day of, it will only increase your nervousness and decrease your focus.
While it is important to get as much studying done as possible, pulling an all-nighter can be one of the worst possible things you can do during exam week. Sleep deprivation will not allow you to retain information well, or recall it well either. Make sure to keep a reasonable sleep schedule to succeed during this tough week!
Exercise increases blood flow to your brain, helping you focus and study. Sitting in one place for too long may lead to fatigue so make sure to take breaks for exercise. It may be too busy a week to get a full workout but going on a short walk or doing minor activities is all you need to make sure you are in good condition to study.
Eating healthy food sounds easy but can be difficult to maintain, especially when stressed. You might want to eat and drink whatever is most convenient but quick calories and processed carbohydrates will leave you exhausted. Eat foods that are slowly digested: whole grain, fresh vegetables and lean proteins. Before a final, eat a diet that is high in protein. A sugar rush will not help for very long during a 3 hour exam and the crash will be downright harmful. Finally, taking a test while hungry will definitely hurt your chances in succeeding!
If you have more than one final, you might be trying to study for them individually and in order. Research has shown that the human brain isn’t well suited for focusing narrowly for long stretches at a time. Plan on taking on a individual subject for an hour or two, then switch to another. You don’t have to split time between subjects evenly, but give subjects that have an exam sooner more time. You’ll find that studying this way will help with the retention of information, since you’ll be revisiting material more frequently. Remember also to take a short break or refresher each hour you study!
While studying too much can lead to fatigue, not focusing enough or dividing study sessions to too many parts can lead to scattered and ineffectual learning. It may be hard to turn off your social media or your phone for an entire week so instead, only use it as a reward after you’ve finished studying. Using it during your breaks may lead to using it longer than intended, reducing the effectiveness of your studying.
Remember, succeeding and doing well on your exams might seem difficult, but staying on task and following these tips will help you make it through!