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Stay Calm, Finals Are Coming

WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J.—With final season among us, it is safe to say stress levels are at the all time high. From papers to exams, the work load can be unbearable and occasionally, unmanageable. And since the average student juggles 15 to 18 credits each semester, that can add up to four or more finals falling in the same week–yikes!
It can feel almost impossible to give each course the same amount of study time while balancing sanity levels, right? The staff of Monmouth University’s Tutoring Services has shared six stress-relieving tips to get ahead of the game and get the grade.
1. Plan ahead. Set aside at least a half hour to plan ahead one or two weeks depending on the schedule. Using a basic calendar template, write down any due dates for the upcoming days. This will allow you to view the whole month and avoid sneaky deadlines.
Dorothy Cleary, the Director of Monmouth’s Tutoring Services, also suggests planning to study for the most difficult exams first to reduce stress.
2. Take advantage of sticky notes and office hours. This may sound like an unusual combination, but both are helpful. Inexpensive sticky notes can be used as reminders for little assignments like overnight homework or appointment times.

Photo courtesy of Juliann Fiorentino
Photo courtesy of Juliann Fiorentino

If questions pop into your head, write them down on a sticky note then set up a time to meet with your professor. This way, you will have the day, time, and question in the same place and ready to go.
3. Avoid late nights and caffeine binges. According to a Case Western Reserve University professor, caffeinated beverages, like coffee, can stay in your system for four to six hours. It can also cause caffeine-induced sleep, which can affect how much information you remember. It is extremely beneficial for your health to get at least eight hours of natural sleep daily. To ease your mind, pretend you are studying for Sleep 101.
4. Visit the Writing Center or Tutoring Services. Monmouth University offers workshops from prepping to test taking—completely free of charge! The Writing Center also offers help on papers for any subject and level. Visit Accudemia to make an appointment and guarantee a spot for finals week.
A pro tip is set the appointment at least two days before the deadline to allow time for making any changes, if necessary.
5. Take breaks. Yes, you can afford taking breaks, and yes, you do need them. Spending too much time on studying could cause testing fatigue and actually have an unwanted, negative effect. This means all of the hard work would not pay off in the end. Whether it is a stroll around the block or a session of yoga, your mind and body will thank you for taking five from a heavy study session. You will emerge with a clear, relaxed mind that is ready to focus on the concepts and facts that you throw its way.
6. Make study guides. This is the easiest way to organize material and to make sure important concepts are not missed. Make sure to include material from the course book as well as professor lectures, so that the information will be in the same place.
Another pro tip is to make a study guide weeks in advance and to present it to your professor. Not only will your professor catch mistakes or highlight important concepts, but he or she will also see that you are taking the extra step to succeed–which can come in handy when they are submitting grades to Webadvisor.
Most importantly, remain calm. Although testing can cause unwanted anxiety, it is important to have a ready-to-go mind fueled with a combination of healthy food, plenty of water, and sleep. May the finals ever be in your favor!