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Student Health Services


Finals Guide: Tips for studying, managing stress and staying well

It’s normal to feel stressed around finals. Arm yourself with these tools to prepare well, manage stress and do your best.

  • Stress Management

    Finals week can bring about stress. Taking just 15 minutes a day to focus on stress management can help you study and focus better throughout the week. What are some tools to help you manage stress?

    • Meditation: Try using apps such as TAO, Headspace or Calm to do guided meditation.

    • Therapy Assistance Online (TAO): This free, online, private resource is available on your laptop or phone and has many resources to help you manage stress, including access to a mindfulness library.

    • Exercise: Getting active for even a short period of time can kick start your energy and help relieve stress at the same time!
  • Sleep

    Did you know sleep is an important memory tool? A good night’s sleep is needed for normal cognitive function, which includes paying attention and enhancing your learning, problem-solving skills, and ability to remember information. If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, or controlling your emotions and behavior – none of which are helpful for taking a final exam. So what are some good tips for making sure you get a good night’s sleep?

    • Avoid caffeine before bedtime
    • Turn off electronics one hour before you go to bed
    • Stay on a schedule.
    • Keep your room dark, cool and quiet

    If you’re still having trouble falling asleep, try doing a meditation or body scan before going to bed to help ease your stress and relax your mind. Try these sources below:

    Contrary to popular belief, all-nighters are actually counterproductive – don’t fall for that old trick! All-nighters make you groggy and much less cognitively prepared to take your exam, and take away from one of your most important memory tools – sleep. Learning material and sleeping on it is very effective in helping you store it in your memory. But how do we avoid pulling an all-nighter in the first place? Read the Study Tips below!

  • Study Tips
    • Know your best strategies for studying: Visit the Academic Success Center’s website for strategies to help you study your best for classes and finals.
    • Plan ahead and make a study schedule for yourself: Prioritize more difficult exams or ones you have sooner, and start studying a few days in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute!
    • Say no to unnecessary things: Staying connected with friends and family is important for your mental health during finals week, but saying no to excessive hangouts or movie nights is probably in your best interest for finals week.

    • Limit your time on social media: Almost all of us are in the habit of picking up our phone and scrolling through social media; for finals week, try to turn your phone off or delete your apps during your study time.
    • Seek out resources: Try to study with peers or study groups – can be in-person or online in Zoom or Facetime. Visit the Academic Success Center’s website for strategic learning and studying resources leading up to finals week. Also, look online for room reservations that are available during finals week to study on campus.
  • Remember – YOU are the most important thing!

    As finals can seem to consume all your time, it’s easy to forget you need to take time for yourself. If you take better care of yourself, then you will be in better shape to study and do well on your finals! So what should you remember to do each day?

    • Eat well: Eating fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods will ensure your brain has the right nutrients to be at its most efficient.

    • Exercise: Taking just 30 minutes is beneficial for your cognitive functioning and will improve your studying.

    • Stay connected with friends: While we shouldn’t get carried away with socializing during finals week, it’s still important to remain connected with your friends via phone calls, texts, Zooms or Factimes for support and a mental reprieve during your studying.
student studying

More on stress

  • Fast Stats

    Stress is a natural response to change that affects everyone. It is common for students to experience stress during the transitional period of high school to college and throughout the college years. As a student at a top 20 university, it is expected that stress and stressors will arise.

  • What is stress?

    It is normal to experience discomfort when adjusting to change, even when those changes appear to be positive. Stress itself is not always bad and can act as a motivator to address a problem. Per the National Institute of Mental Health, stress can be described as the emotional and physical response that is experienced as a result of change.

  • What does it look or feel like?

    Stressors for students may be triggered by cultural and interpersonal experiences with family and friends, professional and academic demands, and financial concerns. Stress may result in a combination of physical and emotional reactions including:

    • Disturbances in sleep.
    • Changes in eating and digestion.
    • Increased heart rate.
    • Headaches and muscle tension.
    • Irritability and frustration.
    • Low energy and difficulty focusing.

    When you are able to recognize what stress looks like for you, you can take the steps to address it.

  • What can I do?

    Be Present 

    Stress can be increased by worry about what’s to come and difficulty focusing on the here and now. To better manage stress, it can be helpful to remind yourself to stop and take a breath. Stress will come, but you have the tools to overcome it by living in the moment. Mindfulness relaxation practices such as square breathing, checking in with your five senses and progressive muscle relaxation are examples of exercises that can help you decrease tension and reconnect to your body in the now. With renewed focus, you can look at your goals and more effectively prioritize what you can do to address the cause of your stress. It may even be helpful to schedule these exercises into your daily routine when you know you have something stressful coming up.

    Get Moving

    Changing your environment, connecting with others and taking time to do things that allow you to get physical while having fun are good ways to decrease stress. This can be as simple as taking a walk outside, spending time with a friend or even just dancing to some music. Physical health, including diet, exercise and sleep routine, play an important role in helping your body manage daily stressors that come with college life. Incorporating healthy habits consistently can help you better cope with every day stress.

    Request a Program

    Consider requesting a program for your group or organization. Healthy Campus and CAPS offer educational and supportive outreach and/or programming on a variety of health and well-being topics, including no/low-cost ways to manage stress. 

    Request a Program
Student Health Services
Student Health Services | Redfern Health Center, 735 McMillan Road, Clemson, SC 29634