A few weeks ago, we asked the DOSCs how they managed stress during exams. It’s more important than ever around finals when everything is piling up (especially if you’ve been unlucky and you have many end-loaded classes). The Academic Skills Center has compiled some great tips from Casey Gardiner ’11 on how to stay well during finals and make it through to Spring Break, which I promise is just around the corner.
1. Get adequate sleep. It will help you work more efficiently, learn and retain information better, and do better on your exams. (All-nighters are a bad idea for your health AND your grades!)
2. Try out relaxation exercises or a guided meditation: learn how to do them at http://www.dartmouth.edu/healthed/relax
3. Keep moving! Don’t cut out your exercise time during finals period. The gym is a great place for a study break (leave your readings and flash cards at home to give your mind a rest!) or go for a run or take a walk outside. Don’t want to leave your dorm? Go up and down the stairs a few times, have a dance party with your roommate, or do yoga.
4. Keep laughing. Laughter can reduce stress and improve your mood, so watch, read, or listen to something funny as a study break!
5. Watch your caffeine intake. It will stay in your system longer than you think and can keep you from falling asleep when you need to. Adequate sleep, healthy eating, and exercise can keep you energized without caffeine!
6. Let your eyes rest. Give your eyes periodic breaks while you’re studying. Look out the window at something far away and focus on it for 15 seconds before returning to your computer screen or textbook.
7. Eat healthy foods. Protein-rich foods can help you sustain your energy and your focus. Sugary foods can give you an immediate energy rush, but you’ll crash later. Leave the library to get some fresh air and a balanced meal instead of ordering in or overdoing it on Novack baked goods.
8. Take a walk outside, especially in nature. It will clear your head, get you moving, and can help improve your memory!
9. Eat breakfast before your morning exams!
10. Keep everything in perspective: they’re just exams. You’re really smart, and you can handle them.
Good luck on finals and have a relaxing interim break!
PS. For a printable version of this information and much more, check out the ASC website. Or just pay a visit to the ASC; they’ve got walls of handouts that are wonderful and informative and loads of really friendly and helpful people.