Does the thought of responding to an essay prompt give you shortness of breath? Do you break out into hives when you try to memorize a formula? We’re here to tell you that testing anxiety is a real thing.
Here on the University of Houston campus, it’s officially the last week of classes, but before you can celebrate the end of the semester, like it or not — you’ve got to get through finals.
If you’re like most college students, the thought of the next few weeks probably leaves you feeling a little like this:
The good news is you can relax. Today, we’re bringing you 7 Tips You Need to Survive Finals (leaving your GPA — and your sanity — intact).
Those Crumpled Notes Won’t Help You.
At this point in the semester, your study notes and materials are probably scattered around your backpack, car and dorm room. Before you start preparing for your final exams, set aside some time to gather all those necessary materials to avoid interruptions. Important things to keep on hand? Your class syllabi, textbooks, index cards or notebooks and lecture notes from the semester. It’s also a good thing to do this before finals week (aka NOW) so you’ll have enough time to get any missing notes from classmates.
Stick to Healthy Snacks.
Whether you’re studying at a coffee shop with food options or packing your own snacks, stick to foods that will reenergize you without causing you to crash in a couple hours. Avoid sugar as much as possible — so yes, that means steering clear of vending machines. Great study snacks have a little protein in them, like snack mixes or nuts. Another tip? If you’re studying somewhere you can purchase food, avoid buying large meals until after you’re done studying since too much food can make you tired and unfocused.
Choose Your Study Spot(s) Wisely.
When finals week rolls around, the last thing you’ll want is to waste precious study time by looking for spots to study. Make sure to plan out where you’ll be doing most of your finals studying beforehand and keep in mind factors such as location, food options and your own personal study habits. The MD Anderson Library on campus or the Quiet Room on the 5th floor of UCBB might be perfect if you like total silence, but if you prefer a little background music and access to coffee, you’re better off studying at The Nook or Cougar Grounds.
Stay Away From Netflix.
We know — this is a tough one. But while catching up on an episode of your favorite show on Netflix might seem like the perfect way to relax, it’ll probably relax you too much, meaning it’ll take you longer to refocus. Plus, we all know Netflix is addicting. And the last thing you want is to get caught up in the next season of a show when you were supposed to be reviewing a chapter! Instead, use your study breaks to take a walk outside, chat with a friend over the phone, or reorganize your study space.
Get Some Sleep.
Everyone knows sleep schedules can get a little crazy during finals week, but research shows the amount of sleep you get will affect your performance on exams. Try to get a normal amount of sleep each night and avoid long naps throughout the day. If you feel like you absolutely need one, stick to a short power nap (think 20 to 30 minutes). Anything longer can leave you feeling groggy and unfocused.
If you find yourself in the middle of an all-nighter (hey, it happens), try to refuel with healthy snacks as much as possible and make sure you have enough time to crash at home once your final is over.
Control Your Gadgets.
Keep your phone on airplane mode while you study to avoid unnecessary distractions. And if you don’t need the internet, disable the Wi-Fi on your laptop. If you’re a social media addict, it might also be a good idea to take a social sabbatical and deactivate some of your accounts until after finals week.
Study Alone (Or With Friends You Know Will Keep You Accountable)
While group study sessions can be helpful when getting ready for final exams, they can become too distracting if you’re with friends you know well. Study alone when you know you really should, or with a friend who you know will keep you accountable. Because let’s face it, a good friend doesn’t let you take that Buzzfeed quiz when you should be reviewing advanced accounting notes.
By Priscilla Aceves