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Finals Week Tips

Healthy Tips for Surviving the Stress of Finals Week - Dos and Don'ts

Do:

  • Make a plan for studying so that you can prioritize effectively. Take into consideration that some finals will be earlier in the week than others, and some will require you to devote more time.
  • Take breaks! Overworking is the best way to get burnt out, so plan a 15-minute break after every hour. At the end of each day, plan a slightly longer break as a reward for hard work. Breaks can include walks outside, coloring, crocheting, or any other activity that lets your brain rest for a few minutes.
  • Get extra sleep. Research shows that memories are consolidated and integrated during sleep, and fewer hours lead to worse academic performance.
  • As you study, try to recall what you have learned - real-world examples, how to apply concepts in new situations, etc. This will be more useful than attempting to memorize all of the course material. Your professors care more about learning!
  • Work with others. Seek out students in your classes who are motivated and doing well. Quiz each other, support each other, pool resources. If you can explain challenging material effectively to someone who is not in your class, you can be confident that you know it well. Everyone wins.
  • Drink LOTS of water. Staying hydrated will reduce discomfort and distraction. (One of our team members goes without coffee for the whole week! He swears that he feels just as energized with water.)
  • Check out CHEW's stress relief breaks, meditation classes, and Peer Health Educator activities, which take place throughout dead week and finals week.
  • Plan meals ahead of time. Stock your room/apartment with healthy food, bring meals and snacks with you when you study, or have a plan for where to access healthy options near your study location. Without a plan, it's easy to get stuck with junk food options that won't give you the energy you need to power through and perform well.
  • Eat meals on the third floor of DeNaples. The good food and company of your friends will help rejuvenate you to study. (Don't forget complex carbohydrates in your meals - they help to sustain your blood sugar through long exams.)
  • Spread out your packing over the week. Packing offers a productive break from studying, and will help you balance your time between packing and studying the night before you leave.
  • Take off from work. If you can afford to schedule a week off from your job, this will free you up to focus on studying and reduce your stress level.
  • Plan a a way to reward yourself for your hard work. An evening out (or in) with friends, a shopping trip, a big item you've been waiting to splurge on....

Don't

  • Start a new series on Netflix this week. You will get addicted and not study. (Use a new series as a reward at the end of the week!)
  • Skip meals with friends, or skip exercise, to study. Research shows that giving yourself a short break and engaging with social support and/or physical activity is best for performance.
  • Forget about professors' office hours. Make a list of questions for review, and make an appointment in your schedule.
  • Overdo it on coffee and/or energy drinks. Energy drinks in particular will disrupt your sleep and result in worse performance.
  • Study in your bed. WAY too tempting to lie down, which makes it easy to fall asleep and lose valuable study time. Make your bed and study sitting up (if you have to study in bed) to limit the temptation. (This will also make it easier to fall asleep in bed at night.)
  • Plan on studying during breaks between exams. Something always comes up, and you may simply be too exhausted to study during short breaks.
  • Ask your professors the day before what is on the final - they will not be happy!
  • Leave studying for the night before a final. You'll peform better if you review a little bit each day for a few days before.
  • Drink alcohol the night before a final. Enough said.

More Scranton Health Psych-approved tips from Huffington Post