Expert study tips to combat stress for finals


Julia Henning

It’s that time of year again… the dreaded final exams. Next Wednesday through Friday, all Upper School students will take final exams, and the lead-up can cause significant stress, particularly for those who are not prepared. Following these tips can help reduce that stress and promote wellness. Diane Carney, Upper School for Girls Learning Services Director, has given some very useful tips for all of the best ways to handle final exams.

“I think stress comes from the fear of the unknown as well as a sense that you’re not going to have enough time,” said Carney. “As soon as you make a realistic list of everything you need to do, you budget your time, and you drop it into a calendar between now and finals, and you look at it, you’ll realize there’s actually a lot of time to do what you need to do.”

Carney has been researching good sleeping and eating habits. Studies show that a 12 hour period of time at night of little to no activity for your body and mind is very helpful. That means 12 hours in between dinner and breakfast. Carney described it like hitting the “save” button on a document. If you don’t rejuvenate,  you won’t be able to think clearly and will have a larger chance of forgetting information.

Below are Carney’s tips split into three categories to help prepare your mind and body for next week’s big exams:

Ask for help
#1 Assess your starting place and set an achievable goal for each class
#2 Share your goal with your teachers and ask for input on how to meet your goal
#3 Make appointments as needed, and use a planner to map out the days until finals. Utilize Study Day! *you can pick up a weekly planner for the next 2 weeks in the Learning Center
#4 Review past homework, quizzes, and tests – get corrected answers.


Apply your strengths
#5 Know your strengths – in which ways do you learn and remember best? Make your studying easy for you!
#6 Study smarter not harder; watch this video for ideas.
#7 Use and organize ALL of your resources – past assignments, syllabus, books, portal, teacher, Learning Center, classmates.
#8 Quiz yourself by retaking previous quizzes and tests. Try to predict which questions your teacher may ask on a final.
#9 Teach a friend! See if you can explain a concept or problem type to a friend. In trying to explain it, you’ll quickly learn where you’re not yet 100% sure.


Set yourself up for success
#10 Pick a bedtime and stick to it; Try 8, 9, or even 10 hours of sleep during the days leading up to finals. Add power naps if you can! Enough sleep is a key to learning.
#11 Take lots of breaks and when you feel stressed, exhale longer than you inhale.
#12 Be kind to yourself. Eat well, drink water, and take breaks to do something relaxing.