By Emily Martin
As the semester comes to an end, everyone is frantically studying for finals in an attempt to pull up their grades. I don’t know about you, but that exhausts me and stresses me out to the max. When I stress, I get headaches, and when I get headaches, my brain is pretty much useless. To help myself cope with the stress of finals, I have come up with this fail-proof list of stress relievers. Feel free to use these tips in your own lives!
Tip #1: EXERCISE!
My favorite way to relieve stress during finals is to go to the discounted yoga classes at the Yoga Bar in downtown Waco. During dead week, they usually offer classes for Baylor students at a discounted rate, and your first class is completely free! Don’t have a yoga mat? No worries, they can provide you one! You don’t need to have yoga experience to attend these classes…but be warned, they are usually hot yoga classes, so the room heats up throughout the class. I didn’t think I would like hot yoga, but at the end, they always put a cold towel on your face. It is SO worth it! Another great thing to do is to check out the Bearobics finals schedule or just go for a run from time to time to get rid of some stress.
Tip #2: Don’t overdo your coffee intake!
Last year, I made the mistake of drinking too much coffee and not eating enough food. I got so caught up in my studying and trying to stay awake that I completely forgot to eat. I found out the hard way that too much caffeine and not enough food can lead to major migraines and an upset stomach. Try to limit your caffeine, and remember to drink as much water as possible. You can also try to substitute smoothies for coffee or even switch to decaf (I know…it’s hard to do, but it works!).
Tip #3: Take breaks!
If you can study for an hour or two and then take a short break, it will help you to be more focused! Make sure that you are being productive in your study time and not just passively going over material. When taking breaks, it is always good to exercise or grab food with friends! Another great idea is called the 50-10 Rule. The idea is to study for 50 minutes of every hour, and then take a 10 minute break to clear your mind. Just be sure that you are 100 percent focused during the 50 minutes of studying.
Tip #4: SLEEP!
This is probably the most important tip that I can give you. Getting a good night sleep before any test is always a good thing to try to do. While you are sleeping, information will move from your short-term memory to your long-term memory, making the information easier to remember. It also helps you to feel rested on the day of your test instead of being tired and falling asleep in the middle of it. Pulling an “all-nighter” may sound like a good idea at the time, but the next day you will definitely feel the repercussions of staying up all night.
Tip #5: Study in groups only if it helps you!
I know that sometimes I get roped into studying with a group of people even though I tend to do better studying on my own. If you know that studying with a group of people helps you to do well on tests, by all means go for it! However, if you are like me and you know that studying with other people distracts you, then my advice would be to limit your group studying time. Try to only study in groups when you have missing information in your notes or if you missed a class and need to get that information from someone else.
Tip #6: Make a study guide in advance!
Study guides are SUPER useful – if you make them in advance. Don’t wait until last minute. If you make your study guides a couple of days before your test, you will have more time to look over them and you can review instead of trying to learn all of the material the night before an exam. Doing this ahead of time will also allow you to know what you still don’t understand or what information you are missing. Then, you can ask your professor or class members for help.
Tip #7: Create a calendar!
It may sound silly, but having a detailed calendar of when your exams are can really help you to prioritize your time. You should also try to map out times to study for each exam and also times to take breaks. The idea should be to make sure you are 100 percent focused while studying, so that you can afford to take breaks periodically.
Tip #8: Quiz yourself!
Creating practice tests and quizzes can be a huge benefit to you. While making the test, you are forced to look over your material, and then you will also have a way to test yourself on the material! It also helps to quiz other classmates on the information. When they get one wrong, you can explain the answer to them (which will also help you to know the information).
Tip #9: Start early!
This one is a biggy. Don’t put off studying until the day/night before your exam. Not only will it be harder to learn all of the information in that short period of time, but it will also stress you out more than you would be if you had started studying earlier.
Tip #10: RELAX!
Now that you are prepped and ready to ace your exam, RELAX! Before your exam try to review your material, but then put it away and pop in some headphones. Listen to pump-up music (I usually jam to Taylor Swift…don’t judge me) and tune out your classmates while they frantically try to talk to each other before the test. Usually when people are talking before a test, it freaks me out and makes me think that I didn’t study enough. I have found that I am a lot more confident if I am listening to music before a test instead of talking with the people around me.