Stress to test: Tips to survive finals

Brittany Westerberg

Brittany Westerberg

Ready or not, the end of the semester is almost here. With this comes something most college students dread: Finals week.

One reason that finals week seems to be so dreaded is that it is confusing. Some class finals are comprehensive, and some aren’t. Some classes have their final tests the week before finals week and some require a term paper for a final grade. Others don’t have a final test at all.

Another reason that finals week is dreaded is that it is so important for a student’s grade. It could be the last chance for some students to bring their grades up, or for those students with good grades, a last opportunity for them to fail a test and kill their grade.

All of this creates pressure and anxiety in students across campus. Anxiety and being overstressed are two of the biggest problems that affect students’ ability to perform well.

Stress can cause headaches and other body aches, interfering with a student’s ability to study effectively or test well. Stress also increases the body’s susceptibility to minor illnesses.

Some students and colleges have looked into having a “dead week” the week before finals, in which there would be no classes and no assignments due. This would give students an extra week of preparation before final exams, and in turn, reduce a lot of stress. The problem with having a “dead week” is that each semester is required to be a certain number of days, and would make the semester longer.

Regardless of when you believe final tests should be given, or whether you think these final tests even really assess students’ knowledge, the final exam is how most students are evaluated and is extremely important. Here are a few things you can do to decrease your anxiety and make the exams a little easier on you.

Control your environment. Study where it is most comfortable for you. If you study better in a dimly-lit room with music blaring in order to drown out other noises and keep you from being distracted, do that. If you need complete or near-complete silence in order to study, find a place to do so.

Use other resources to get information. If your final is actually a term paper, you probably need to use outside resources. The library is a great place to find more resources, and the librarians are there to help you if you run into problems. During finals week, the library hours are extended as well. From Dec. 10 through 13, the library is open until 2 a.m.

Watch how much caffeine you consume. A small amount of caffeine is OK, but too much caffeine can make you too hyper or jittery to study. Other consequences of having too much caffeine include vomiting, nausea, hallucinations, a racing heart, panic attacks and chest pains.

It’s never too early to start studying. The earlier you get started, the less you have to cram the night before the test.

Take care of yourself. Eat right and get enough sleep. Don’t pull an all-nighter-you’re doing more harm than good. It’s been proven that students do better if they’ve gotten even a few hours sleep. Drink plenty of water. Studies have shown that people who drink more water have more energy and are healthier overall.

Don’t over-study. Take breaks every so often to blow off some steam and reward yourself for studying well.

If you don’t like the library, however, something new is being tried this semester. Reference librarians will be in The Union at certain times this week and finals week.

“It is a way to bring the library’s resources to the students,” said Reference Librarian Susan Schleicher.

#1.883926:2204311397.jpg:Study01.jpg:Senior biology major Molly Frankl studies in Briggs Library.:Courtney Smith