Facing Your Finals Week Fears

The path leading to high school graduation can sometimes feel like one of those extreme obstacle courses; you’re wading through college applications, swinging from one AP course to the next, scrambling in and out of extracurricular activities, and belly-crawling through time with friends and family.

And then there’s the finals week wall to get over.

If you’re a high school senior, odds are you’re basically in full-on, high-stress mode right now.

In an effort to help you stress less, below are some tips that will help you shine during finals week so you can enjoy the rest of your senior year. And as a side bonus, these tips also work as you start your college adventures.

Make lists

Lists are the easiest time management tools in the world. You don’t need much—a pen and paper, or even the notes app on your phone. Using a list to help you manage all the work that goes into finals week will clarify your overworked, sometimes cluttered brain while decreasing your stress level. Once all that matters is down on paper, don’t forget to read your list! Keep the pen ready—you’ll need it to cross off all those tasks you finish.

Find your happy study place

For some, a dimly lit coffee shop with a pair of earbuds provides the perfect hiding place to study for finals. For others, kicking back in bed with music playing in the background works. No matter what your study style, it’s best to find a comfortable place that’s free from distractions. Whatever environment suits you best for studying, find it and go there.

Get organized

If you’re not a naturally organized person (and a lot of creative people aren’t) you probably already know how important being organized is. Mark your calendar with which test is first and which one is last, and make sure you have all your notes in order. Having all the class materials and supplies you need before your study/work sessions will help you stay on task.

It’s timeline time

To avoid having to pull an all-nighter the night before the exam, you should make a realistic study plan. If possible, plan so you study a little every day leading into finals week. Set aside specific study times when you’re the most alert, break down study times into small chunks, and plan for breaks to recharge and energize yourself. Don’t forget to include healthy meals, sleep, and breaks into the timeline.

Take care of yourself

None of this matters if you’re too tired or sick to make it to the test on time. This week, more than ever, it’s important to stay hydrated, eat healthy and get good sleep. Exercising also helps reduce stress hormones. A walk around the block or an intense cardio routine could help your body release endorphins, which makes you happier. Give both your body and your brain the energy needed to retain information so you can truly SHOW UP for finals week.

Block social media

Finals week presents the biggest war between what you want to do and what you need to do. Turn off social media, and just say “NO” to partying and other irrelevant activities.

Ask for help

You have people. Your people want you to be happy and healthy and successful. Parents, teachers, friends and family are there for you if you need them for anything. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Instead of stressing—ask for a hand if you need it.

(Final)ly, you’ve got this

Lastly, have faith in yourself. You’ve put in the work and you know the stuff better than you may think. Instead of just “surviving” or “getting through” your finals, set the goal to ace them!