As we at Berthoud High near the end of our first semester, we’ve all been dealing with the looming fear of finals. Because of this, a large majority of people here are worried over their upcoming grades from this week. Although it’s a very valid reason to be stressed out about, I personally think that excessive amounts of this stress could be considered negative, and thus, a shift in perspective may be important in combating that stress.
A lot of this stress is due to worrying about the grades that are possible from finals, or the grades they could get. This line of reasoning is perfectly fine, but thinking in this way will often lead to the buildup of stress and/or anxiety, which can be detrimental to one’s overall mental health and well-being.
A method to dodge this sort of thinking would be to acknowledge that it’s over, and what’s done is done. Often, it will relieve stress in the moment, which can help you be calmer for the following tests or while waiting for grades to show up. After all, you can’t change the past.
You can, however, learn from it. It can never hurt to take a look at your habits every once in a while and reflect on how they’re affecting you, how they’re working, and how they may not be working. Based on this information, it’s possible to formulate new strategies going forward, and following finals week, Winter break is an excellent time to do this sort of reflection.
Reflecting over your study habits and test-taking ability could be an excellent resource for people over the break. Taking the time to think about what did and didn’t work could help you formulate plans for the future, which can help you get a more detailed idea of what your needs are for studying.
It may seem like a redundant thing, just words that every teacher says, but there are plenty of effective study methods, which almost always include doing more than just reading and underlining. According to The Learning Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it’s more important to study by having shorter, yet more intense sessions. Information can be remembered and reflected on more easily this way, as opposed to overwhelming your mind with information and expecting to remember it. Even fifteen to twenty minutes each day for a few days is an effective amount of time that allows you to retain at least some information from the class.
A good sound environment is also imperative to effective studying. Some people do well with silence, some do well with calm music, and some do well with background noise, like people talking in a separate room or otherwise.
Along with that, planning ahead can be your greatest method to success. If you notice that a coming week or few days will be easier than usual, it might be best to plan a few days dedicated to study, so that other stressors aren’t sitting in the back of your mind while you study.
Overall, if the stress becomes unmanageable, it might be best to speak to a trusted adult to get some help or advice on how to manage that stress.