Find somewhere to study that's quiet and relaxing.
You no doubt remember the stress of finals week from your undergraduate career: the sleepless nights, countless papers and myriad deadlines – it can all add up to a stressful pre-holiday season. Unfortunately, for those considering heading to graduate school, it's important to remember that the stress of finals week is by no means exclusive to undergraduate students. In graduate school you will likely have a number of paper deadlines and exams throughout the month of December, as well as in the spring, prior to the end of the academic year. Stress during graduate school finals is also often compounded by the fact that many students have other commitments to balance – a career, a family, friends and so on.
That's why, as we approach winter finals week, it is important to take a look at some surefire strategies for managing stress and ensuring maximum success during this challenging period. Here are seven of the most effective methods:
1. Keep exercising
Just because it's finals week doesn't mean you should slack on the exercise, The Huffington Post advised. Staying active carries a number of health benefits and can help you feel happier and more energized to tackle your many assignments. Given that you will no doubt be short on time during this period, The Huffington Post explained that abridged workouts are preferable – of around 30 minutes to an hour maximum: Head to the campus gym, go swimming or play a game of tennis or squash with a friend. Even walking to and from class and taking strolls on your lunch break can help improve circulation, release endorphins and help you feel more ready to focus on your studies.
2. Plan in advance
Finals week stress can be made infinitely worse if you are unsure of exact details, which is why it's important to plan your finals week schedule in advance, Time magazine advised. Check the syllabus for each class and then create a detailed timetable of what is due when, and when exactly your exams are being held. With a solid plan you'll feel more in control and relaxed about the upcoming work.
3. Find a perfect study place
Whether it's the library, your bedroom or a local coffee shop, everyone has a place where they are able to work best. Be sure to find that place in advance of study week. Florida National University explained that some of the best study areas are locations that are free of noise and distractions, such as the quiet floor of the library or your study at home. While this is likely true for many, others may find that they work better in a space with background noise, music and people. In essence, there is no one right place to study – just keep your study habits in mind and find a location that is suitable for you.
4. Get as much sleep as possible
For many, this tip may be hard to abide- after all, one of the cornerstones of finals week is the dreaded all-nighter. As Time magazine explained, though, staying up all night and functioning on limited sleep can actually curb your chances of academic success. It makes sense – if you're overly tired you'll be less likely to put in your best work and when you study you'll be unable to remember as much information. The best way to approach finals week, therefore, is with a clear and rested head. Ensuring you get enough sleep is simple if you plan well enough. Start your end of term papers and studying ahead of time – don't leave it to the last minute – and you'll no doubt find that staying up all night isn't necessary.
5. Meet with your professors
If you need it, don't be afraid to seek assistance with your papers and final projects. The most effective way to do this is to make the most of faculty office hours, Florida National University advised. The source explained that the meetings can be used to learn more about how to effectively approach your finals – not to mention the fact that it creates a good impression with your instructor.
6. Alternate subjects
Time magazine argued that one of the most effective ways to study is to set aside certain periods of time in a day and alternate between topics and tasks. In other words, don't spend an entire day dedicated to one subject. This is because, according to the source, studies have indicated that the mind can easily lose interest in a subject, thus retaining less. Consequently, to get the most of your study sessions it's important to mix it up to keep it engaging.
7. Eat as well as possible
During finals week many students head for take-out and ready-made meals to keep them going. And that's usually on top of sugary snacks and other comfort foods that are eaten during the long hours of studying. Falling back on unhealthy convenience food is a mistake, however, as it can ultimately hinder your ability to focus, The Huffington Post detailed. Sugar, salt and fat can leave you feeling content in the moment but then tired and deflated later on. The best way to remain energized throughout your studies is to eat three balanced meals a day. If this isn't possible, try your hardest to select snacks that are low in calories – think granola bars, nuts, fruits and so on. It's also crucial to ensure that you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.