Finals week is traditionally a stressful time for students as they prepare for exams, presentations and papers. For many, this is synonymous with stress and anxiety, even fear for some. However, there are ways to make this time easier.
Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus, professor of business communication at Stevenson University, believes that students have many misconceptions about exams.
“Students should get their normal eight hours of sleep. Studying all night or trying to cram for an exam can make the exam seem more stressful,” said Bell McManus.
When preparing for exams, it’s essential that sleep is kept in high regard. Begin studying for exams and papers at least two weeks in advance, so that the work is not left for the last minute. Your body will feel like it needs more rest as it starts to get dark earlier, so account for changes of season as well.
It’s also important to have a handle on the material. Start by re-reading the syllabus to check for the content that will be tested, as well as any other assignments that are due within the two weeks before finals. Ensure that other assignments are finished early, and that you have a schedule in place for studying the material.
Bell McManus also gave tips for students preparing for finals. She recommends studying for exams in the same room that you will be taking the test. This can help to prime thoughts in a more efficient manner by physically being in the place of the exam. Additionally, hand writing note cards is a useful way to prepare.
Work-life balance is an essential skill. According to U.S. Department of Commerce 2018 Census Bureau data, 72 percent of undergraduate students work while they are in school, so do not feel alone if work appears to be more stressful than usual during this time. Communication with managers is key, especially if you plan to continue with the company you’re working for after graduating.
Students should request time off for exams ahead of time, as the exam schedule may be slightly different from a standard weekly class schedule. If you feel overwhelmed, cut back on work hours during the weeks leading up to exams.
Most importantly, take time for yourself and relax. Final exams mean that you’ve worked your way through 15 weeks of lectures, labs, and assignments. Having a strong sense of confidence and curiosity will prepare you for success. Show yourself the appreciation and respect you deserve, and make yourself proud.