Stress-Free Finals Week: Complete Guide for College Students
As December starts, the majority of college students start to worry about finals week. For many, it is an intense time of the year when they need to put much effort into studies and tests, catch up on assignments, and also try to enjoy the festive mood. Needless to say, that seems like too much. And we get it. That’s why we have a few tips for you on how to make the end of the year and finals week a little less stressful.
Preplan and Start ASAP
Procrastination is one of the main reasons why students might not succeed in their classes. Putting assignments and exam preparation aside makes it a lot harder for you to get higher grades. Procrastination also adds to your stress levels, as you might feel worried and sad about your low productivity levels.
In order to make finals week easier, you need to do everything possible to avoid the last-moment rush. You want to feel complete and focus on the main tasks instead of trying to catch up on old assignments and long paragraphs.
Be sure to start diving into finals preparation as soon as possible. The perfect option would be to start at the very beginning of the semester, but we surely know that almost no one does it. So, we would recommend looking through your notes a few weeks before your tests to create long-term memories and structure the pieces of information in your head. Such a strategy would make it easier to be later able to remember a fact or a date, and it works much better than cramming.
Use Active Learning Techniques
When you are in need of some extra boost and help with your studies, you might want to seek changes in your routine. First of all, you can try delegating tasks – asking a professional team of writers to complete some of your essays, reports, and coursework would be a great help during the exam preparation. It can save you a lot of time and let you concentrate on finals while your homework is being done for you.
Another thing that can significantly help you out is to implement active learning techniques into your study routine. What is active learning? It is a study strategy that implies active and diverse engagement with study material. For example, quizzing, using flashcards, explaining material in a teaching manner to a friend, doodling, and illustrating while reading your notes or paragraphs. All of these things are powerful due to the fact that they allow you to combine a few brain processes at the same time and thus create more powerful neural connections.
In other words, being diverse in study techniques is much more efficient than sticking to your old study routine and hoping for the best. There is always a way to improve your productivity, but it is not going to happen without making changes.
The best option while studying for tests and exams would be to avoid being stuck with a study routine that doesn’t do 100% for you. Try various study techniques, for example, the “Pomodoro technique” or the “Feynman technique,” as you never know what works best for you unless you try it.
Let’s take a look at the most effective learning techniques that you might want to try:
- The Feynman technique is all about explaining complex concepts in simpler words to yourself. After reading a paragraph, try to pretend like you are teaching the topic to someone and use your own words to explain the material.
- The Leitner system is a technique based on flashcards. It implies having a few boxes for these flashcards and going through the flashcards in each of the boxes in a particular schedule while also moving cards that you did get right to the next box.
- Mind mapping is also a particularly interesting technique that implies organizing information in a diagram on a sheet of paper with arrows and connections between the main topic and all the things tied to it. It is especially helpful to visual learners.
By combining a few techniques, alternating them, and trying something new, you can achieve better results and improve your productivity, thus easing your life and helping yourself during finals week.
Take Care of Yourself
Stress management might seem like something that requires a lot of effort and knowledge. However, that’s not really true. What you really need to feel more comfortable and less stressed is to manage your sleep, manage your tasks, and manage your emotions.
Managing your sleep is not that hard and just requires some self-discipline. Managing your tasks can be easy if you delegate your assignments and free up some time for other tasks or rest. Managing your emotions is what you can get help with by turning to a therapist or mental health specialist.
Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Healthy sleep is crucial for stress management. During your sleep, you get a dose of melatonin – a hormone that helps you fight cortisol, which is a stress hormone. That means that in order to be productive and manage stress, you need to take care of your sleep schedule.
Creating such a schedule is what you should definitely try. Sleeping for eight hours daily is a good start, but it’s not enough – you need to be consistent not only with the number of sleep hours but also with the set bedtime. In order to get the maximum melatonin your system can produce, you need to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time, even during the weekends.
Surely, sleeping until noon when you have such an opportunity is fun, but it’s not good for your health as you can’t catch up on your sleep. That’s why thinking that sleeping for a long time during the weekend while also having two hours of sleep daily is not the best strategy.
Break Down Tasks
Final and course projects might be too big and too scary when you think of the work that you are about to do. That’s why it’s important to break down bigger tasks and work on small portions of them, one at a time. This means that in order to complete a project, you might need to create a plan at first.
For example, you might start your bigger projects by setting deadlines for each part of your work and putting them into your calendar. Each step of your work should contain less diverse tasks. Research, outlining, editing, preparing visuals – all of these processes should be spread in order to avoid multitasking and also have an opportunity to focus. This strategy will help you reduce stress and feel less overwhelmed during finals week.
Focusing on one task and one process at a time allows you to focus and put all your effort into the thing that you are currently working on. It is the way to keep your productivity high due to a few reasons:
- While multitasking, your brain has to switch from one task to another. It might create cognitive issues, worsen memorization, and even completely mess up the material comprehension.
- Multitasking is sometimes suggested as a way to stay focused and interested so you don’t get bored with the same type of work. But it doesn’t really mean multitasking, and you can surely alternate tasks after a set period of time and with a short break in between for rest.
- The quality of work that is done in the process of multitasking can be really low due to a lack of proper concentration and process structure, which leads to such results.
That’s why we suggest avoiding multitasking and limiting distractions such as music, YouTube videos, etc.
If the end of the year and finals week make you feel stressed, we hope that implementing our useful tips into your routine will help you out. Remember that your well-being is crucial, so don’t forget to prioritize your mental health. We wish you the best of luck with your exams!