This is a guest blog post from Jennifer McGregor, writer at www.publichealthlibrary.org.
Finals are stressful for everyone – whether you’re a student who needs a dedicated study regimen to earn good grades or if learning comes easily to you. Most finals are comprehensive and notoriously difficult, and your final grade often weighs heavily on your performance on these exams. You’ve got yourself a recipe for sleepless nights and endless worrying. While anxiety won’t improve your performance, a few strategies to help you ease stress before finals certainly will.
1. Create Your Optimal Living Environment
A clean, organized, and clutter-free living environment free from distractions is a must for any student with ADHD, but the right environmental space is helpful for reducing stress for any student. Ideally, you should have an organized, dedicated space for studying that’s separate from your bedroom. If it’s not possible to have two entirely separate spaces, consider dividing your bedroom into clearly defined areas, one for studying and one for sleeping. Minimize distractions and keep your space clutter-free so that you can focus on studying instead of searching for your lecture notes.
2. Skip the Caffeine
Your first instinct when you realize you’re in for a late night of studying for finals might be to reach for your coffee mug, but caffeine can actually have undesirable effects when it comes to beating stress. Too much caffeine can make you feel jittery, make it difficult to sleep, and actually increase stress. Limit your caffeine intake when you’re feeling the pressure.
3. Get Some Sleep
Again, preparing for finals is often a time when many students are functioning on just a few hours of sleep or no sleep at all. But the best thing you can do to ease the stress of finals is to allow your body the time it needs to rest and recharge. A lack of sleep makes it difficult to focus, so in reality, your 3 a.m. studying sessions might be less effective than you think.
4. Visualize Acing Your Final Exams
Basketball players often say that they are able to score more points when they visualize the ball flowing through the net right before they take a shot. This technique is called visualization, and it’s widely used by many successful people in tons of different situations. It can work for you, too: Take a few minutes, relax, and close your eyes. Visualize yourself walking into class with confidence and easily working your way through your final exam – and experience the excitement of getting your scores to find out that you totally aced your finals.
5. Listen to Your Favorite Tunes, or Go Classical
Music is therapeutic. Think about the many times a favorite song from your past has come on and how it impacted your mood. You can use the therapeutic effects of music to your advantage to ease stress before finals by creating a playlist of mood-boosting tunes, or if you’re willing to step outside the box, try listening to classical music. Listening to Mozart can actually improve your mental performance; that’s why they call it the “Mozart Effect.”
Don’t skip sleep and fuel up on caffeine before finals. Instead, focus on creating a clean and learning-friendly environment and using some techniques to help you study smarter while beating stress. Acing your final exams is entirely possible when you study smart.
Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.