How to Reduce Anxiety for Final Exams
The end of the school year is almost in sight, but before you get to enjoy summer break, you still have to face one more big challenge: final exams.
If you’re feeling anxiety about your final exams, you’re not alone. Many students freak out in the weeks leading up to finals because they know that final exams can count for as much as a month or more of school in the grade book, so it’s essential to do as well as you can.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to manage your anxiety, both in the weeks leading up to finals and on the day of the exam itself.
A Week or Two Before:
- Get Organized
To prepare for final exams, you’ll need to go through all of the materials you’ve compiled over the semester. And you don’t want to do that the night before the test in case it turns out you’re missing something. Instead, at least a week before exams, get all of your notes, handouts, quizzes and tests from each subject in order. If you’re missing something, see if you can ask the teacher or a friend for a copy.
- Set a Schedule for Yourself
One of the biggest sources of anxiety for students around final exams is usually due to procrastination. You may think that you’re avoiding anxiety by not thinking about the test until the night before, but really, by putting your studying off until the last minute, you’re just making your anxiety worse. A better strategy is to plan ahead. Decide how much time you need to spend studying for each class, and then set a schedule for yourself for the week or two before finals so you can spread your studying out into manageable periods of time. For example, on nights when you don’t have homework, spend 20 to 30 minutes studying for the exam by reviewing or copying your notes, creating flash cards and creating a study guide for yourself.
- Envision What Will Be on the Exam
Another source of anxiety is assuming that you have no idea what will be on the exam. But in fact, if you start thinking like the teacher, you’ll probably have a very good guess as to what will be on the exam. Start by reviewing all of your notes and assume that there will be questions covering each of the major subjects you’ve covered throughout the semester. You can even try writing some sample questions to give to a friend to answer. Try creating some multiple choice questions with wrong answers that are close to the correct answer, as well as some short answer questions that require some explanation. You’ll be amazed once you get in the head of the teacher how much you really know!
The Night Before and the Day of the Exam
Before you begin your final night of studying, take 5 to 10 minutes to meditate quietly. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, trying to let go of any thoughts that come into your brain. You’ll find that a quick meditation session will calm you down and help you stay focused on the task at hand. You can also try this the following morning, right before your test.
- Go to Bed Early
If you’ve been spreading out your studying in the week or two before the exam, you shouldn’t have to stay up all night cramming. If you want to do your best, you need to get a good night’s sleep so you are well rested on the day of the test.
- Take Deep Breaths
The day of the exam, take some time to do some deep cleansing breaths to help yourself calm down. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Think Positively
Give yourself a mantra to help keep you thinking positively such as, “I’ll do my best and that’s good enough,” or “I have prepared well, and I can do this.”
- Focus on One Question at a Time
Try not to get overwhelmed with how long the test is. If you look at all the questions and freak out, you can try using a piece of scrap paper to cover up the other questions. (Tell the teacher what you’re doing so he or she doesn’t think your scrap paper is a cheat sheet.)
- Focus on Yourself
Don’t worry about how long it’s taking other people to finish the exam. There’s no prize for the person who finishes first. Just focus on yourself and remember that all of your peers are in the same boat that you are.
How to Create the Best Environment to Study for Final Exams
Want more tips on how to do well on your finals? Remember, if you want to do well, you have to really be able to focus when you’re studying. Here are our top six tips on how to create the perfect, distraction-free environment for studying for final exams.