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5 Tips for Overcoming Final Exam Anxiety and Stress

Updated on December 9, 2015

5 Things to Do:

  1. Get Plenty of Sleep
  2. Eat Food That Your Body Wants
  3. Clean Your Room or Study Space
  4. Organize Your Time - and Stick to It
  5. Take Time to Relax

Falling Asleep In Class
Falling Asleep In Class | Source

Get Plenty of Sleep

Everyone needs sleep, that is undeniable, but how much sleep do we really need? According to the National Sleep Foundation, Teenagers (ages 14 - 17) need on average 8-10 hours of sleep per night, Young Adults (ages 18 - 25) need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and Adults (ages 26-64) also need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Are you meeting this criteria?

Your Brain and Sleep

How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

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Yummy Pizza! Brain Food vs. Soul Food
Yummy Pizza! Brain Food vs. Soul Food | Source

Eat Food Your Body Wants

You may be craving that cheesy piece of pizza or that chocolate-filled gooey cookie; however, your body truly does not want it! These foods are not necessarily bad to eat, everything in moderation, but during finals week you want to be eating brain food rather than soul food!

So what are some brain powered foods to munch on while you study?

  • Almonds
  • Blueberries
  • Cashews
  • Green Tea
  • Bananas
  • Coffee
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts
  • Salmon
  • Leafy Greens (such as Kale, Romaine, Cilantro)
  • Sweet Potatoes

Messy Desk - Get Your Space Organized Before You Study
Messy Desk - Get Your Space Organized Before You Study | Source

Clean Your Room or Study Space

Many people have a hard time focusing while they study, by cleaning up your room - or wherever you study - it will be easier to keep focused on the material. I know, I know, I don't want to sound like your mom nagging ... but do it for yourself!

Daily Planner - So Important for Staying Organized
Daily Planner - So Important for Staying Organized | Source

Organize Your Time - And Stick to It

I can not stress this tip enough! Break up your day into specific sections with start and end times and stick to them! Use the following sample categories to get started:

  • Sleep
  • Eat
  • Personal Time (showering, getting ready to go to class, driving to work, etc.)
  • Work
  • Study
  • Class
  • Time with Friends
  • Time with Family
  • Exercise
  • Relax

The more detailed you are with your schedule the weeks before final exams (or even days before) the less the anxiety and stress that will creep over you.


Take Time to Relax

As you sip cup after cup of coffee while cramming for your final exams relaxation is more than likely the last thing on your mind; however, it is important in moderation. If you don't take any time to relax you will ultimately burn out and thus less information will be retained. Just like your body needs a break from exercise to rebuild muscle, so does your brain from studying to retain information. A rule of thumb is 10-15 minutes of relaxation for every hour spent studying. Also, don't just turn from your computer or book to the TV for relaxation, get up and get your blood moving! Go for a quick walk, do some jumping jacks, dance to some music! Whatever floats your boat and gets your blood pumping!

How stress affects your brain - Madhumita Murgia

How often do you experience stress and anxiety during finals week?

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