Don’t you just love final exams? No? Okay, so maybe the only good thing about finals is that a break from college is coming very soon. But there are a few things you can do while studying for finals to make the process less painful.
First, schedule in some good study breaks. No, don’t procrastinate, as this will just make you more stressed out. However, if you try to study for three days straight, you’re not going to digest the information effectively—plus you’re going to become one very unpleasant person. Try to schedule in at least ten minutes of break for every hour your study, even if you’re crunched for time. Trust me. You’ll be happier and will retain more info.
Second, plan your days carefully with good time management. You only have a limited amount of time to study for multiple exams, so carefully create a schedule that allows you to get as much done as possible. Sit down and map out what you’re doing when in hour-long chunks. You may have to prioritize, as there probably isn’t as much time as you need to study masterfully for every subject.
Next, try to maintain some fairly healthy habits while you study. No, this isn’t the time to go on a diet or health kick, but if you put just a little effort into taking care of yourself, you’ll feel much better and may do better on the exams. One good thing to do is to fuel yourself with lots of healthy snacks. Protein is your best bet because it provides a consistent flow of energy, so snack on some nuts, cheese, and protein bars. Limit your intake of sugar, carbs, and (yes) caffeine, because these will all give you quick energy, but will be followed by a big crash. In addition, try to get a little exercise. No, don’t spend hours in the gym—that’s procrastination and you know it. However, a quick walk, swim, bike ride, or run on the treadmill will clear your mind.
And try to get some sleep! Skipping a few chapters of material in order to get some sleep may just be worth more points on an exam, as you need to be alert to do well.
In addition, don’t waste your time with study groups—unless you know your study group is dependable and won’t be counting on you to do all the work. A good study group might help a little, but a bad one is a waste of time you really don’t have right now.
Finally, try to keep things in perspective. Yes, you need to take exams seriously—but not so seriously that you’re causing yourself serious anxiety issues. If you don’t do as well as you like, chances are the consequences really won’t be that bad. Do the best you can, since that’s all you can do.
Good luck, students!