Coping with Final Exams

University students are jumping for joy as classes have come to an end for the winter term. The joy is short lived as the reality of final exams sets in. Whether you are a university student, high school student, any other type of student or living with a student, here are a few ideas to get through the stresses of exams.

1) Take breaks. While that might seem counterintuitive, you will be much more productive and retain information more efficiently if you break up your study sessions. Try taking a short 10-15 minute break for every hour of studying. Use that time to grab a snack, go for a walk, play a mindless game or chat with a friend.

2) Organize your study space. Have a room or area that you can set up how you like it and get away from things that might pose a distraction (throw that phone in another room). Have all of your supplies ready to go before you start studying. There is nothing worse than getting into the groove and then having to spend 20 minutes searching for an article or book.

3) Apply the idea of good enough. Thinking something is good enough doesn’t mean not trying or putting in a full effort. It simply means being realistic about the time and effort you can put in. You might be a math wiz, but if your math exam is the last final after writing several others you might not have the time to be able to do all of the studying that you normally would. Adopting good enough is really about a snap shot in time and accepting that with everything you have got on your plate, it might not be doable to study for hours on end and that is okay.

4) Don’t forget about self-care. This is along the same thread as #1. Don’t forget to take time to eat and sleep. It might not seem like you have time for those things, but again you will be much more productive if you are fueling your brain with nutrients and giving it a break at night with a solid nights rest. Don’t forget about exercise and other hobbies or activities. They provide a welcome break as well as an outlet for stress.

5) Start with what you know. If going into an exam causes you a lot of anxiousness, focus on starting with the material you know. It doesn’t matter if that is the start, middle or end of the exam. Once you find your groove and build up a little bit of confidence, it will be easier to go onto other material and spark your recall.

Any way you look at it, writing an exam or multiple exams is stressful. Recognize the stress you are under and plan outlets to help relieve the stress. Have a little bit of compassion for yourself and realize that this is temporary and you will get through it!



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