This archived article was written by: Renato Magalhales
As finals approach, stress and anxiety come along: the pressure from an entire semester is accumulated in numerous tasks and assignments during the closing week of school. It does not count how you have done so far, finals are decisive and may impact grades as much as months of hard work.
For those tireless students who have worked through since the first classes, this should be a usual week, but for those still striving to save their grades, this is the time to be tough and get things done. It should not be the monster it seems to be. There are a few tips to succeed and end the semester in great shape.
First, as obvious as it sounds, study. Attend review sessions, ask questions to your professors and tutors and follow or create a study guide. Sometimes, it happens to lose track of subjects and topics going on during the semester, but take a deep breath and start organizing and outlining what is essential.
Courses are different and may be confusing in this critical stage, even more for freshman students. Separate each and understand how the grading system and the evaluations work, how much you want or need to score and when the deadlines are. Be careful to understand the style of exam you are preparing to take. Memorizing definitions and concepts may be helpful for multiple choice, while understanding and being able to express them may work better for essay questions.
Second, plan for the tests as early as possible: time matters and regretting there is none left should not be an option. Stick reminders on your wall, your desk, your laptop or your forehead, but do not let due dates pass or happen too fast. Pace yourself and stay focused on how much you have done and how much you still have left.
Next, take breaks, have fun and get back to work. You won’t be able to comprehend all the material at once, thus balance the amount of study you must go over and do not overload your brain. Contradicting what some people say, do not spend nights awake. Get enough rest and keep healthy.
June Pilcher and Allen Huffcutt, researchers at Bradley’s University Department of Psychology, found that sleep deprivation affects and decreases cognitive functions and is associated with mood disorders. In an environment where only a slight portion of students sleeps the hours they should, there are some simple “details” like this to be careful about.
An example is having a well-balanced diet, including fruits and vegetables and avoiding excessive fats, sugars or caffeine. Eat at regular intervals, have a strong breakfast – combining the right amount of proteins and carbohydrates based on your daily routine – and keep hydrated. Stay away from drugs as well. Any.
Do not forget to ease up on yourself sometimes. Stay bonded to the community, hang out with friends, find out how they are doing on their exams and personal lives, share your feelings and release that tension over your shoulders. Breath.
Keep strong and those letters will come. Repeat this process through finals: maintain the effort, discipline yourself and celebrate the results.