Categories: Academics

6 Secret Strats To Avoiding Finals Burnout

It’s the end of the semester, and that means final exams and final projects. It’s no secret that finals can be stressful, soul-crushing even. However, here are some secret tips for managing exam stress and avoiding burnout. 

1. Focus on One Thing at a Time.

There’s an old saying that goes “if you try to chase two rabbits, they’ll both escape.” What this means is that if you try to do every single task at the same time, and don’t commit to completing one before starting another, you’ll fail at both of them. This is also true for final projects or papers. A key part of managing exam stress is to focus on one project, subject, or paper at time. If you try to get all of it done at once, you’ll only find yourself overwhelmed, overstressed, and ultimately, doing a worse job. Focus on getting one thing at a time, and it will be much easier to manage your stress. It’s easier to do your best work when your attention isn’t divided among multiple projects or papers.

Minimizing distractions and staying on track are generally good for your productivity, so don’t let your work distract you from what you need to be working on. Make sure you find a good place to study and avoid looking at distracting things like games or social media while working on your assignments.  

2. Get Your Priorities Set.

Another great tool for managing exam stress is making sure you’ve got your priorities set. You should make sure to prioritize the most immediate assignment, or one you know you’ll need to spend more time on. Make sure you know what’s important and what you can afford to wait on doing. This is especially helpful when studying for exams, as setting your priorities lets you devote more time and energy to subjects that you know you struggle with, or focus on meeting deadlines that you’re closer to. If you make sure to determine what is most urgent and most important, you will be able to manage your workload and thus manage your exam stress much more effectively. 

Remember that basic necessities are also a high priority, eating and sleeping are not something you can afford to let fall by the wayside. Knowing the order you’ll be tackling your assignments and obligations is key, but not so much that you can let your health and sanity fall by the wayside. 

3. Budget Your Time.

One of the most important ways of managing exam stress is managing and budgeting your time appropriately. Yes, getting good grades and studying enough for your exams are important, but if that comes at the expense of your sleep schedule or mental health, then you’re kneecapping yourself before you even reach the deadline. Make sure to set aside time for work, and try to stick to a consistent schedule for studying, writing, and other types of schoolwork. If you manage your time well and keep your priorities straight, you’ll be more productive than if you put everything off till the last moment. If you know how much time you’ll probably need for something and plan ahead, it’ll pay off big time. I know that All-nighters are part of the stereotypical “final exam crunch” but that doesn’t make them healthy or productive. If you go too long without sleep, your work will simply devolve into gibberish and you’ll just need to redo it all later. It’s not worth it. 

4. Break Down Your Workload.

This trick for managing exam stress goes hand in hand with the previous one. End of semester projects, papers and exams can feel massive and overwhelming when the deadline is approaching, the sheer amount of work seeming impossible to do all at once. The trick, you see, is to not do it all at once. If you break down huge, overwhelming projects or assignments into smaller, bite-sized pieces and spread them out of the amount of time you’ve allotted for yourself, you’ll find your stress lowering and your productivity increasing. Set a series of milestones rather than one monolithic deadline, and your workload will appear much more manageable. If you can turn the overwhelming, seemingly unreasonable assignments into sets of smaller, more reasonable ones, you’ll be more likely to get everything done without burnout or panic. 

5. Make Use Of All Your Resources.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when studying. Ask your friends or classmates to look over your work to see if you made any mistakes or could make improvements. Form study groups with your classmates and compare notes. Make use of your support network if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Ask your professors if there’s part of the assignment you don’t understand. Don’t cheat on your actual exams, obviously, but just remember that you’re not alone, you have people in your corner. 

See Also

Another way to utilize your resources is to access those provided by the school itself. Utilize the library databases or books if you need to do research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure. Make sure you’re using every resource you have access to. Check back on your previous notes, and compare them to those of your classmates. Figure out your professor’s office hours and make use of them if you feel you need to.   Use everything you have access to, because really, can you afford to not use them?

6. Take Care Of Yourself.

This is one of, if not the most important trick to managing exam stress. Make sure to give yourself some free time to relax and unwind. Don’t neglect basic things like eating, sleeping, or other forms of self-care. Yes, grades are important and, yes finals are important, but they’re absolutely not worth sacrificing your mental and physical wellbeing for. You won’t be able to do anywhere near your best if you are constantly tired, hungry, stressed-out, and generally miserable. If you manage your time wisely, I’m sure you’ll be able to set aside some “me time.” 

Another way to take care of yourself is to avoid holding yourself to an extreme standard. Don’t attempt  to make your work perfect, just make sure it’s the best you can do. Don’t run yourself into the ground over one exam. Know your limits and plan around them as opposed to trying to completely ignore them.

Do you have any strategies that help you deal with finals? Let us know!

Featured Image:
Edward Zukoski

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