As we reach the end of the school year, there’s one thing on everybody’s mind—finals. Whether you’re an old pro or new to the finals game, there’s undoubtedly some stress that accompanies those important end-of-year tests.
While there’s little to nothing you can do to erase finals stress altogether, you can make your life a little more pleasant by trying these simple tricks.
Stock up on helpful items
Sure, you’ll probably need to spend a ton of time studying, but there are other ways you can prepare as well. First, make sure you have enough snacks loaded with the brainpower you’ll need to get through a rough patch. Focus on foods that give you natural energy and make you feel healthy—think fruit smoothies, spinach, etc.
You’ll also want to stock up on study supplies to get you through finals week. Things like notecards, extra pencils and pens, and headphones can make your study sessions more fun and more productive.
Pick up a pen and paper
There are a number of studies touting the benefits of creative writing as a form of stress relief, which is extra important during finals week. Notably, a study from University of Chicago found that students who spent just 10 minutes writing about how they felt performed significantly better on tests.
Writing things down can also help you feel more organized, so don’t hesitate to grab a journal or planner to keep a running to-do list. Similarly, writing things down may help you commit material to memory, so spend some time writing out outlines or other course material.
A great way to make finals less stressful is to be prepared for them, and a great way to prepare for them is to develop a system of rewards for yourself. For every trial essay you complete, maybe you treat yourself to a favorite candy. For every practice test you ace, how about giving yourself 20 minutes on social media?
You can even think bigger—work out a deal with your friends or parents to go on a fun vacation if you ace all your exams or buy yourself a new laptop if you beat your target score on your toughest test. Human beings are fairly simple creatures and rewards work!
[RELATED: 5 Tips for a Successful Finals Week]
Find a study buddy
While this may not be the best solution for every learner, learning with a friend can often help make finals week less stressful. In advance, get a study group together and come up with a plan. Practice material in whatever way best suits the subject, always making sure your group stays on track.
Study partners can also make great audiences, so take turns teaching each other material to better cement it in your minds. Ask questions, review notes, and compare interpretations of the text.
Don’t forget about break time
During finals week, it can feel like there is absolutely no time to take a break. But remember, small breaks in study are extremely helpful in committing material to memory and increasing the longevity of your attention span. Plan your study time so that you have the luxury of break time and you’ll feel less overwhelmed throughout the week.
Take a one-at-a-time approach to studying if the stress is really getting to you. Review one item, one class, one day at a time, checking things off your list as you go (which will also serve as a reminder of how much you’ve accomplished, motivating you to press on).
Use technology to your advantage
You’re going to school in a time where there are a variety of resources at your fingertips—don’t be afraid to take full advantage of them. Whether you download an app that blocks social media from your phone or you take practice tests online, use the Internet to help your finals study preparation!
Most of all, remember that finals week is only temporary—while it may feel overwhelming and terrible now, it will be over soon. By doing your part to be a good student during the school year, you’re already making life easier on your future self. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember that you’re well equipped to ace your final exams and projects. Good luck!