5 Strategies to Manage Stress While Studying for High School Final Exams

This is the first time in several years that most high school students will be taking in person final exams. This presents a new challenge for students, as they must find ways to recall and process a year’s worth of information, simultaneously managing the stress levels associated with test-taking. 

Studying for final exams means more than ensuring that you retain the curriculum and concepts taught. Studying is a process that involves strong organizational skills, attention skills, and time management skills. Mastering all of these skill sets puts high school students in the best possible position to manage stress and confidently walk into final exams. 

To manage stress while studying, try these 5 strategies:

  1. Write everything down in a designated notebook. The practice of writing things in a specific spot helps you to recall them more easily. Making to-do lists, checking things off of these lists, and keeping a handwritten schedule spurs memory. Writing down any concerns before going to sleep will help to give students clearer heads and a better night’s sleep. The act of writing things down, rather than typing, helps to spur memory. Once students strengthen memory muscles through writing down basic tasks, they will be more prepared to take on the tasks of studying for broad-based exams, making the process less stressful.
  2. Stay organized. Create a system that will help maximize organizational skills. This system can include writing curriculum/content-based flashcards, which is particularly helpful for classes like history and science. Flashcards are an extremely effective way for students to retain factual information as they engage active recall of information. Organize flashcards into piles based on topics. Repetitive studying using flashcards is a form of confidence-based learning, which has been proven to improve focus and retention of content. Organizing notebooks and class notes before studying starts also helps students to study more effectively and to avoid wasting time by searching for information. Keep notes for each class separate. Keep each assignment organized separately. Starting the studying process in an organized manner will help students to spend more time focused on curriculum, alleviating stress while studying. 
  3. Exercise and get fresh air. While it is extremely important to focus and study, getting exercise, getting fresh air, will help students to study more efficiently and effectively. Go for a walk, go for a run, shoot some hoops, or hit a ball against a wall. Movement, sunshine, and fresh air can help students to clear their minds. Being outside gives students more vitamin D and stimulates both their physical and emotional beings. Take deep breaths and return to studying more focused and determined. Spending that time outside will help revitalize and de-stress students as they hunker down to conquer their final exams.
  4. Focus on time management. Most students’ stress levels are tied to their perception of how much time they have to complete a task. When students feel overwhelmed by everything that they must accomplish within any given timeframe, their stress levels become unmanageable. Effective time management skills can make students more efficient when it comes to preparing for final exams. Creating a study time schedule, starting as early as a month before tests start, will help students to put studying in perspective and reduce stress levels. 
  5. Ask for help. Students who feel like they have support systems, whether it be from peers or teachers or family members, feel lower levels of stress during the most challenging circumstances. If students do not understand a concept, they must go to a teacher or tutor for help. If students are struggling to manage their time, they must request support from a parent or executive functioning specialist. Do not wait until the last minute to get the help necessary to walk into final exams confidently. And, of course, GAMECHANGER PREP has the specialists students need to stay organized, to help them understand curriculum, to help them manage their time and learn effective study skills, and to help them to walk into final exams knowledgeably and confidently.

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