Don’t Stress Out! Tips for Acing Your Finals

North Lake College Stressed Out PersonYou don’t need to panic, pull all-nighters, and pop energy drinks to get through final exams. Here are simple tips to keep your stress down and your grades up.

  • Only have time for one tip? Get the sleep you need. Science shows that the loss of sleep from an all-nighter can completely kill your test scores. Lack of sleep makes you tired, reduces your memory, and makes the test harder. What can you do instead of staying up late? Go to bed on time and study in the morning, right before your test. If you arrive at your final exam in need of a nap, studying will be useless.
  • Build study groups. Partnering up with a group of classmates can help you review material more quickly and efficiently. Have everyone prepare a different review section, or use your combined brainpower to tackle the hardest questions.
  • Take breaks. Breaks are essential to keep your focus and prevent burnout. MIT suggests studying for 50 minutes and then recharging for ten minutes by chatting, checking your email, going for a walk, stretching, or drinking some water. Physical movement is the best refresher, even if it’s just standing up.
  • Talk to your professor. All our teachers keep office hours, and they make themselves available by email and phone, too. Faculty won’t tell you the answers to the test, but they are very happy to help you understand the concepts and ideas you need to succeed.
  • Talk to our free tutors. NLC has free learning centers for Math, Science, Writing, and Language, with access to books, software, and lab equipment. Plus, free tutoring is available from volunteers who have already taken and passed your classes.
  • Divide your workload into smaller parts. When you’re thinking about the challenges ahead, ignore the big picture and focus on each task in turn. Use breaks as a motivator, or cross each task off a checklist.
  • There’s an app for that. Smartphones and tablets offer flashcard apps, language learning games, and other study tools. One of them could help you out.

Need more help with your stress level? Talk to professional counselors in our Counseling office, A311, or call them at 972-273-3333. You can also visit our Health Services clinic in C200 for a safe space to rest or manage anxiety.

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