With final exams comes study stress, especially for those of you who might be graduating in December. Studying is the best way to get a good grade on your exams, but personal health is an even larger factor.
Don’t panic. You might have a lot of work coming up, but panicking won’t make things any easier. Think about your passing grade, and keep that goal in your mind as you study. Try to avoid the “what ifs” – they’ll do nothing but increase your anxiety.
Get organized early. Plan out and create study guides a week or two in advance, so most of your study time won’t be spent in the organization stage. Gather old tests, compile notes and go over earier material. This is also a good time to talk to your professors about how the exam will be structured and how much of it will be cumulative. Don’t be afraid to ask if an exam will be multiple choice or short answer if it affects the way you study.
Make sure to eat. Snacks are okay for studying, but take breaks for lunch and dinner. Avoid doing any intense studying on an empty stomach. Even if you plan on studying for the entire day, it’s still better to keep your brain focused on your work instead of hunger pains.
Study groups can help with memory. You might find that someone else has a piece of information you might’ve missed during class sessions. If you’re having trouble getting a group together, try using Google Hangout.
Take breaks. Your brain can only hold on to so much information at once. A two-hour study session might seem efficient, but without breaks in between, you’ll become overwhelmed. Take a break every 20 to 30 minutes – walk away from your study materials if you have to.
Make it fun. If bright colors, arrows and pictures help you remember information, include them in your notes. No one has the right to judge you for your study methods. Listen to music, watch TV or play a game if that’s what helps you to study better. Everyone is different, and the only reason why you should be changing your study habits is if they aren’t working.
Walk away when you need to. If you feel yourself growing frustrated or out of control, take a longer break. Go for a walk around campus or stop studying for the day if it’s late and you’re tired. Studying while on the verge of exploding will do more harm than good.
Stay healthy during your finals, both physically and mentally. Grades might be important, but your mental health matters more.