Stress Busters for Finals Week

Stress Busters for Finals Week

For many college students, this is finals week and taking exams remotely and finishing papers from home during the pandemic adds a whole additional layer of stress.  Students feel distracted, overwhelmed and exhausted from all the screen-based, self-directed learning.

The way to manage is to MAP IT ALL OUT and devote solid blocks of time to each assignment or exam, in the order that they occur.  A clear mind focused on one subject has much more power than one scattered over several due dates and deadlines.

If you don't have a weekly calendar, create a table in a word document that includes all the days left in the semester.  Underneath each day, put the exam or paper that is due.  It might look something like this:.

Work backward from your due dates and input exact times you will work and when you will take breaks.  Go in the order of what is due.  Papers you have more control over, so get those done to "free up your brain" for studying.  Consider old fashioned study methods like flashcards, make your studying as ACTIVE as possible.  Rewrite all your notes, perhaps?  CONSIDER THOSE TIMES REAL APPOINTMENTS THAT YOU CANNOT MISS.  See below:


The key to studying well is making it active.  Take an index card and cover up your notes and ask yourself a question or a definition.  Don't just re-read your notes - it may not be sinking in.  Recite the answer out loud then move the card to see if you got it right.  If you didn't, try again.  

ANTICIPATE EXAM QUESTIONS.  There are certain concepts in classes that just scream "test question" - what did the professor spend the most time on?  What in the textbook was referenced in the class?  By thinking about what might be asked on the test, and phrasing it as a question yourself, you are ACTIVELY studying.

WRITE, DON'T TAP.  The act of writing by hand slows down your brain and you think about what you are writing more than when you tap on a laptop.  In the act of writing definitions on flashcards, for example, you are actually STUDYING the definition more actively.

KNOW WHEN YOU ARE READY.  If you get to the point where your head is swimming and you feel "sick of" studying, that might be a sign that you are truly as ready as you can be.  In that case, rest and a healthy meal, plus a good night's sleep will help you more than rereading things over and over again when they aren't sinking in.

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