3 Tips to Remember During Finals Prep (And Other Stressful Situations)

It's December, Christmas is coming, and with Christmas, comes first semester final exams for students here in Danville and in the rest of the San Ramon Valley. 

As crunch time for finals looms closer, I wanted to share 3 helpful tips to keep in mind as you prepare for finals. 

1. Take Care of Yourself

I know, I know this sounds like a lecture starting to happen (which I know we get enough of those), but stressful times are often the times when we take care of ourselves the least. There's science backing up the fact that getting a full night's sleep and eating wholesome food is important in brain functioning. Lack of sleep and eating empty calories contributes to brain fatigue, and brain fatigue is so not what we want when faced with a final exam that is 25% of our grade.

2. Balance

Like taking care of ourselves, balance is another thing that goes out the window when it's crunch time. Remember, we are not robots, we are human. Yes, you will be spending proportionally more time and energy on studying during finals week than the rest of the semester, but it is important to do things to reenergize yourself, so you will have the stamina to keep plugging away during finals week. Try printing out (or inputting digitally) a calendar for the month of December. For each day leading up to finals, write down one thing you will do to take care or reenergize yourself Shoot for an activity that will last about 15-30 minutes to give you a much needed break in all of that studying.

3. Set Realistic Goals

Take the time to plan out how you will tackle your final exam prep. Breaking it down into individual goals goes far in helping people not feel so overwhelmed when they have a large task in front of them such as "studying for 6 finals." Plus, you get the satisfaction of achieving these smaller goals, which can help with overall motivation. I would suggest using a SMART goal format (see Writing Smart Goals for what I mean by this). You can also take that same calendar from Tip #2 and plug in what you will do to study for each class and the time you will commit to doing this task. 

I know that finals week can be very stressful and daunting. Trust me I know (remember I have my master's, so I've logged hours upon hours of studying for finals), but I do want to remind you all that you will be okay. You will make it through, and typically on the other end of finals, is a much needed break. So take heed, it will soon be over!