Another end of a semester rolls around and with it, final exams. The stress that these exams cause can range in intensity based on factors such as how prepared you are and whether or not you are a good test taker. There are also side effects that stress can cause. One of the biggest reasons that final exams have such a large impact on our mental health is due to the lifestyle college students live.

A study conducted by Brown University concluded that 73% of college students had trouble sleeping. That makes college students at the top of the list for groups with sleep-deprivation problems. Sleep deprivation is directly correlated to lower GPA’s because it affects things like concentration and memory. During final exams these problems are compounded by the pressure to perform. These issues can be caused by more than stress though.

Most college students “burn the candle at both ends.” They get up to go to classes all day, then study and maybe go out for a drink with friends that night. Those long days catch up to you pretty quickly and something has to give. This usually means a decrease in classroom performance. Couple that with a student’s test taking anxiety and you have a recipe for high stress and low mental health. There are ways to manage this stress that you will be able to take with you when you enter the high stress environment of employment.

Preparation

Preparation comes from good study habits. Good study habits come from discipline. Get in a good routine where you block off a part of each day to devote to studying. This will ensure that you identify areas where you need extra help so you can stay on top of each class’ curriculum. Early preparation is the first step to managing stress and performing at your highest level.

Time Management

Time management and preparation go hand in hand. Manage your daily tasks so that you can fit everything in without feeling too rushed. Prioritize your “To Do’s” each day so you take care of the most important things first. For time management tools and tips, go here.

Physical Health

This is so important to your mental health. Physical activity is a great stress reliever. After a long and stressful day go for a run to clear your mind. Take care of your mind by taking care of your body. Eat well and exercise so your mind is sharp.

For other tips on getting over test anxiety before your final, check this video out:

Too many students get caught up in the “college life” and end up over-stressed and under-performing. Learn to manage your school and extracurricular activities to ensure a successful college career.

Any comments on how finals affect your mental health and anxiety levels? Comment below!

 

Image courtesy of f_shields via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).