• Ramona Rava

Surviving Final Exam Stress

Finals week has officially started. This is the time when college students might be pulling all-nighters, cramming 8 to 16 weeks’ worth of course material, and hoping for a strong end to the semester. Whether you are a full-time or part-time student, you may be feeling overwhelmed, stressed, all over the place, and just burnt out.

While the pressure to meet deadlines and give it your all during this time of the semester can be stressful and anxiety-inducing, there are plenty of tips that can minimize those negative feelings. Here are six tips to help you have a less stressful and more productive week!

1. Be transparent.

To start, acknowledge the stress that you may be feeling because of finals. Remember that whatever you are feeling is valid! If you are having a difficult time finding a balance between school, work, and other aspects of your life, do not hesitate to reach out to your professors and employers. Ask whether an extension is possible if you need one, or ask in advance if you can take a few days off from work. Recognize your boundaries and limits. Be transparent with not only those around you, but also yourself.

2. Create a reasonable schedule.

To avoid procrastination and burn-out, make a note of the dates and times of your final exams as well as when your final papers are due. From there, plan out chunks of time to set aside for studying or adding a paragraph or two to your papers throughout the day. Do whatever works for you depending on how much you know you can accomplish in a day. If you need to minimize electronic distractions, try writing your schedule down on a notepad or piece of paper rather than on your smartphone or laptop. This can help you to remain present and mindful of what you need to accomplish for the day.


3. Give yourself a break.

While you are working, incorporate reasonably timed breaks to nourish your body and mind. Even 5- or 10-minute breaks can help. During breaks, engage in self-care by taking time to breathe, rest your eyes, or go for a walk outside or around the room. Or take a moment to reflect, or try alternating smaller, simpler tasks with more challenging ones. Set a timer for your breaks to hold yourself accountable. And more importantly, practice self-love, be kind to yourself, and recognize your needs.


4. Maintain social support.

Trapping yourself in the library or your room all day to work can feel overwhelming and lonely. Make sure that you take time out of your day to reach out to a loved one or a friend for your well-being. This can also be a good reminder that you are not alone. Your friends and peers are going through finals as well. Lift one another up, make a study group and offer each other help if possible.


5. Engage in self-care.

Preparing for finals can take up plenty of mental and physical energy, so it is important that you take care of your body and mind. Ensure that your schedule is set up in a way that allows you to get adequate sleep, and maintain as consistent a sleep schedule as you can. Make sure that you are eating throughout the day, and including healthy snacks such as fruits, nuts, or eggs. Take time out of your day to get some exercise or physical activity, whether that is lifting weights for an hour or going for a 5 or 10-minute walk every few hours. Practice mindfulness and reduce stress by taking a moment to breathe and focus on yourself. If you feel overwhelmed or tired, recognize what your body needs at the moment and do what is best for you. Giving yourself short breaks while working is also a form of self-care.


College is difficult and the final exam period can make it even more stressful. If you find managing the stresses of college is too overwhelming, do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. Therapy can provide college students with techniques to manage and take control of stressors, including finding the balance between school life and other responsibilities that you may have. Remember that you are not alone and that we are here for you. If you believe that we can help, reach out to Bodhi Counseling and Consulting to schedule a free consultation today!

You can do this!

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