It’s normal to experience some stress before final exams. After all, you’ve worked hard all semester, and you want to continue to excel in your classes.
Getting excellent grades on your final exams would be ideal.
Want to know a secret?
If you follow just five simple steps, you can ace your final exams.
Sure, there may be some residual nervousness, but most of it will fall away if you follow these guidelines.
Below we reveal the five secret methods you should start ASAP to calm your nerves before your final exams begin.
1. Focus on your diet
Whereas some students fill up on junk to ease their stress before final exams, that’s not what is going to get you through studying.
Many studies show that anxiety increases when you’re not following a healthy diet.
So instead of indulging in pizza, candy bars, and the like, you should be eating plenty of greens, whole grains, fruit, and other healthy foods.
The easy way to do it is to prepare some snacks in advance. Cut up some veggies, put some bite-sized fruits in baggies, and have a few protein bars you can grab.
If you have to run out the door to meet someone at the library to study, these are fantastic snacks to have on hand.
Healthy foods will fuel your body with energy and help you take advantage of your study time without the sugar crash.
Don’t be one of those college students who neglect their diet.
Talk to a friend or find other ways to manage your stress, if you’re tempted to eat junk food.
In regards to food and vitamins, let’s look at some healthy nutrients and examples of foods you find them in:
- Magnesium – spinach
- Omega-3s – fish
- Probiotics – pickles
- Vitamin B – almonds and avocados
- Antioxidants – nuts, berries, and beans
2. Practice positive thinking
We know — you’re probably thinking that using positive thinking is easier said than done.
But push through that thought because positive thinking is what’s going to get you through your final exams!
Try repeating positive phrases of affirmation before and during an exam.
Let’s look at some examples:
- I’m strong, and I will get through this.
- I’ll develop the patience to overcome anxiety.
- I know that I am not my anxiety and nerves.
- I enjoy making others laugh during challenging times.
- I am excellent at learning.
- I’m courageous and will make it through this.
- I’ve studied hard and am ready to succeed.
Whether you create some of your own positive affirmations or get them from a list, write them down somewhere.
Whenever you feel nervous, pull them out and start reciting them to yourself so that you’ll calm down.
Affirmations are beneficial for anxiety relief as they encourage positive self-talk.
3. Improve your breathing
Did you grow up with your parents telling you to “sit up straight”?
If you did, then you probably already know where we’re going with this: good posture relates to your breathing habits.
Studies reveal that when you have poor posture, your lungs aren’t able to expand as well as they should. The result is that your breathing becomes shallow and anxiety ensues.
Not only that — Journal of Neuroscience researchers recently found that breathing also impacts the activity in certain parts of your brain.
The areas in the brain it impacts are responsible for memory, smell, and emotions.
To prevent poor breathing, sit up straight, and focus on breathing deeply as your lungs expand.
Furthermore, good posture also affects your self-esteem. Having good posture will help you stay confident and make you feel like you’re ready to take on the world.
The European Journal of Social Psychology tells us that body posture promotes confidence, which is exactly why you should focus on doing this!
Before a final exam, check your posture, not only to feel more confident but to improve your breathing as well.
You may find it brings your nervousness down a notch and helps you focus on breathing better.
4. Treat yourself
We know we just told you not to eat dessert and other unhealthy snacks before an exam, but treating yourself doesn’t always mean food.
Before your exam, another way to calm nerves is by doing something good for yourself.
Want some ideas on how to treat yourself?
Well, here they are:
- Go for a walk to your favorite place on campus.
- Talk to a best friend.
- Go to your favorite restaurant and eat something healthy.
- Take in the scenery at a local park or scenic area.
- Read a good book or watch a favorite television show.
One or more of these pick-me-ups will remind you how special you are.
And your affirmations are a way of treating yourself, too. Tell yourself that you are fully capable of doing your best during exams!
5. Prepare for your finals in advance
Procrastination never did anyone any favors.
And if we’re honest, staying up all night to study one or two nights before an exam will lead to unnecessary stress and pre-exam jitters.
Finally, that’s why you should apply some of the techniques below (and of course, the ones above) to help you get ready for finals.
Know the location of each final exam
For starters, one way to get ready for finals is by learning ahead of time not only what day and time the test will take place but where the exam locations are.
The date and time of each exam will determine which exams you need to study for first.
Typically finals are held in different locations on campus, so make sure you’re familiar with the area and building where the exam will take place.
Scrambling before an exam and trying to figure out where to go will only add to your anxiety.
Plan out a schedule
Now that you know the day and time of each exam, take a moment to create a schedule.
A schedule will enable you to tackle studying different portions based on which finals are taking place first.
Be realistic with your schedule so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Also, include some breaks in your schedule to stay sane (which we just covered in #4).