Hey guys! Since it’s the first day of Reading Period and you all already know how close exams are, I’m going to cut to the chase and write down some tips to help reduce some of that anxiety and stress that happens before exams. So, here goes!
1) DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. I know, I know, everyone says this, but it is so massively important that this is number one on the list anyway. Reading period is here for a reason! Take advantage of it!
2) Do a little bit of work every single day. This might not be as feasible if you have an 8 AM final on Monday, but if you start now, then your studying will be a lot more effective than if you cram for an hour before the test.
3) If you have a big paper, outline it! I know — who does outlines anymore? But if you have multiple massive papers, it might be a good idea to just throw some things down in a separate Word document like your thesis, your main points, and the evidence you’re going to use. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but it takes loads of time and energy off of your final paper, and it will be better organized too!
4) De-stress yourself! Yes, I know, I just told you to do some work every day, but it’s up to you how much you do. Do just a bit, and do some activities that you’ll enjoy as well! Otherwise you’re going to burn out before taking the test, and nothing is less fun than taking a test that you absolutely could not care less about at that moment in time because you didn’t take ANY time off.
5) Building off of that, keep all-nighters to a minimum. I myself have stayed up three days in a row one finals week, and I don’t plan on doing that again if I don’t have to; while my school work turned out okay, I was a wreck for at least a week after doing that. In some cases, it’s necessary to stay up to get work done or because you can’t sleep because you’re worried about the test and literally can’t, but in cases where it’s not absolutely necessary? Don’t.
6) Keep caffeine consumption to a minimum. Caffeine may be the nectar of the gods, but too much of it can impair your focus. Sleep when you need to, and leave just a little bit of coffee for when you REALLY need it.
7) Drink water! This is especially relevant advice for Reading Period. Staying hydrated can help with a lot of things, including dehydration headaches and improving your focus.
8) Eat at least one meal of actual food a day. I know that everyone is busy, and that it’s just easier to eat the entire package of Oreos lying around in your room than go to the sub, but it’s much easier and more helpful to get actual nutrients in your system if you’re going to be using your brain a lot.
9) If you can’t sleep before an exam (like me), you can do one of two things — first, you could just prepare to go to bed like you’re actually going to sleep, and just lay there with your eyes closed. Attempt to empty your mind, even though it’s difficult. Then, just do that for the few hours you have before your exam. The other thing you could do is channel that energy into studying, which, while it could help, works better for big papers than actual sit-down tests. Either way, do not just stay up doing nothing and drinking caffeine, that will make you an actual zombie when you take your test; if it were me and my test, I would avoid that.
And finally, 10) Do whatever works for you! A lot of these tips are just things that I personally find helpful — this means that if you have something even more effective than this, go ahead and do it!
Good luck on your exams, everyone! <3 I wish you the best grades and the least amount of stress!