Greetings y'all! Another semester of college is finally almost over. With the last class day passing over, we'll be going into some dead days before officially entering the finals week. For some, you're already free and just about to head off to your winter break, but for others, you're going to have to go through some final "bosses" before you can relax. With those "bosses" can come a lot of stress... so I'm going to give you some tips that I've found helpful over the years to reduce stress and help you do your best on your exams!
1. Take Breaks
Studying is important. I know lots of people who say they study 8 hours a day. I don't always study 8 hours a day, but when I do (especially during finals), I always make sure that I have plenty of breaks in between. It's really important to take note that there are two different type of breaks that you should take: Tiny breaks and long breaks.
Tiny breaks are about 5-10 mins and are times in order to take a breather from your work, walk around, and become mentally refreshed. Long breaks are about 30-60 mins and are your times disconnect from your work/studies and do whatever you want. Usually every 1 - 2 hours of studying, you should take a tiny break so that you don't allow the study stress to build up too quickly, and every 2-4 hours, you should take a long break. It's good if you pre-plan these breaks rather than setup a number of breaks you are allowed to take, because a planned break will be almost like a goal for you. You know at what times you should be studying, and after you reach the time to take a break, you can truly relax before your next long grind.
2. Hot Drinks
Imagine, just after finally understanding a concept, you take your tiny break. Taking your Christmas (or other holiday) mug, you take a deep long sip of your hot chocolate, letting that sweet, creamy, milky chocolatey goodness bring warmth to your whole body. You can feel it scald your throat a bit which can be a bit annoying... but you don't really care. At this point, you're trying to get as cozy as possible while enjoying the wintery environment at your designated study spot, washing all the stress you had away.
Having hot drinks can be really soothing to the mind. They're especially good during the winter time. Unfortunately, this tip may not carry over into the Spring semester, but ya know, whatever floats the season's boat. For me, I really love hot chocolate and peppermint tea to relax and sip on, but you can really choose any drink to bring you to your comfort zone.
3. Be Honest
Preparing for a programming test isn't easy. Studying and memorising terms can be an arduous process. Especially when you have multiple of exams to juggle, it can be pretty overwhelming and be easy to hole up and let your feelings of stress and anxiety be your demon.
But don't let that be you.
Be honest, and find some people that you're close to that you can talk about what's going on. Especially if they're students, they'll totally get you, and you guys can vent (reasonably) all your stress out. If your friends are busy, you can always contact the Counseling and Mental Health Center. The Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) provides counselling, psychiatric, consultation, and prevention services that facilitate students' academic and life goals and enhance their personal growth and well-being. Their phone number is (512) 471-3515, and their hours are Monday thru Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm.
4. Don't Study Alone
Study with others! It makes things more fun, and though it may not totally remove stress (since you'll all still have to take an exam), it can be very encouraging to know that you aren't the only one who's going through the same finals. Furthermore, studying with others is an excellent way to improve your productivity in studying (in good groups of course), because you are less prone to skip topics and through teaching others, you can further reinforce your knowledge for the exam.
5. After the Exam, Let it Go
Once you've arrived at the exam, there's nothing left you can do. You can try to continue to study those last several minutes before you enter the room, and it's fine to review your information or fact check with other people (though might be dangerous if you fact check against an incorrect fact checker), but you've already equipped yourself with all that you can. Do your best, and once you're finished with the exam, let it go. No extra time worrying or stressing will help bring your grade up or change how the TAs/professors grade your exam. It's better to put that energy towards other more beneficial things such as studying for your next exam or resting.
Hopefully, this helps you guys reduce stress. Good luck with finals everyone and pull through it all! Once you're done, enjoy your winter break stress-free! :)