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Preparing for Finals

Written by: Maddie McGarrah, M.Ed.
Preparing for Finals

As finals are approaching, it is a common time where students might get overly stressed and burnt out. Here are some tips to help prevent burnout and reduce stress. Since this is a higher-pressure time, it’s unreasonable to think you could become stress free, but it will be important to try to prevent yourself from getting overly stressed. A concept I go over with students a lot is the stress performance curve.

This curve helps us see how different levels of stress are either helpful or hurtful to us. Some stress is good because it allows us to have our optimum performance level. However, once we start putting too much pressure on ourselves, or let our stress continue to grow, that is where we get into overload and burnout and end up not performing well or not performing at all.

Things to keep in mind this finals season:

  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Eat well balanced meals.
  • Do not overload on caffeine (including energy drinks).
  • Study in short, small chunks. Repeatedly. Repetition is key.
  • Try not to study one subject for longer than an hour, give your brain a break to rest and let the information you reviewed sink in.
  • Understand the format of the test: multiple choice, essay, matching, etc.
  • Attend help sessions if offered or if your teacher offers office hours.
  • Create acronyms for lists or formulas.
  • Try to think of test questions you would make out of the material to really help with your understanding of the material.