PHOTO: Many Davis High students feel overwhelmed by finals, and it’s helpful for them to know some tips to follow before taking them.
By Hannah Cho,
The textbook. Notes from class. A hazy memory of all the material from the school year. There is an endless heap of information to review. With finals looming over your head, you’re bound to be stressed.
Whether you’re worried about not being prepared or about the idea of taking a series of exams, there are several ways to deal with the anxiety. Here are some tips on how you can relieve your stress before finals week:
Identify the source of stress
Before you do anything at all, it’s important to be aware of why you’re stressed. Recognizing the root cause of your stress will help you narrow down how you can relieve it.
For sophomore Sean Seo, who is taking three finals this spring, most of his stress is about how his grades will turn out afterwards.
“It’s the last thing in the grade book, so there’s not much you can do to boost your grade if you don’t do well on the final,” Seo said. “It’s really stressful to have to study for everything at once.”
Once you identify the source of your stress, you’re ready to address it.
Plan out a schedule
Think realistically, especially if you have three or more finals and if they’re cumulative. It’s very ineffective and maybe even impossible to cram all the material you learned this year in a week.
Instead, counselor Kimberly Liu advises, “go back and review notes but don’t try to relearn information.”
According to Psych Central, it takes multiple steps for something to proceed from short-term to long-term memory, including repetition and “chunking” a large amount of information into smaller groups.
Because you won’t have time to go through this process for all your finals, select the classes you’re struggling with the most and schedule a study plan you can tolerate. Being organized and having a set schedule to follow will reduce the feeling that you have not prepared enough.
Be physically healthy
The stress might take a toll on your mental health this month, so it’s all the more important that you’re physically in good shape for the final.
Don’t binge eat unhealthy food or stay up late into the night to study. Doing so will not only be detrimental to your physical well being, but it will also act against scoring high on your finals.
Physical activity, according to Help Guide, releases endorphins that make you feel good and can be a major stress reliever.
Try exercising. Being physically active doesn’t necessarily mean engaging in intense workouts or going for 30-minute runs. It can be as small as walking your dog in the park or biking to the groceries.
Take study breaks
Although studying for finals is important for you to do well, it’s just as crucial to let your brain cool off and process the information circulating in your head.
Find something that makes you laugh. As the old saying goes, laughter is the best medicine; like exercise, it releases endorphins and soothes tension.
“What makes you laugh is going to be different for everyone,” Liu said. “It’s up to you to figure out what makes you happy, and that might be a trial-and-error process.”
If you haven’t found something you can laugh about or can have fun with before finals, try watching funny YouTube videos. It’s easy to lose track of time when you watch full movies or TV show episodes, so short clips on YouTube are a safe bet.
An alternative is spending time with friends that can make you laugh and feel good. Don’t isolate yourself. If you’re worried about getting distracted with your friends, form study groups with classmates so you can socialize and study at the same time.
“It’s very important to take study breaks,” Liu said. “If you don’t renew yourself with that, the stress just exacerbates and the studying doesn’t get done or it’s not as effective.”