Tips to relieve your exam stress

Breanna Cataldo, Features Editor

Finals are right around the corner, and that means stress, lack of sleep and too much coffee are right there with them. For many Ospreys, finals are almost unbearable at times. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to combat the nasty side-effects of exams.

Two-thirds of students are suffering “worrying” levels of exam stress,  according to

The Associate Director of the UNF Counseling Center, Dr. Michael Malec, has some tips to try and get those worry levels down.

“The further it gets into the semester, more students come to us because they aren’t doing well.” Dr. Malec said. “Which ultimately causes stress in itself.”

To lessen the worry you might be feeling, Dr. Malec recommends focussing on:

  • Sleep: Students should get at least seven hours of asleep, especially during finals season.

“Even taking 20-30 minute naps can help,” said Dr. Malec.

Unplugging your phone and stopping your studies 30 minutes before bed might also be a good idea.

  • Nutrition: Make sure you’re eating balanced meals as much as possible. Balanced meals can help you function and stay more alert. Caffeine also plays a big role in your nutrition. Dr.Malec recommends only drinking coffee in the morning, that way your sleep schedule won’t be skewed.
  • Hydration: Make sure you’re not only starting your day off with a morning cup-of-joe, a nice glass of water when you wake up is beneficial. Make sure you’re hydrating throughout the day as well. Staying hydrated can help with feelings of fatigue while studying.
  • Movement: You should be getting at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity in a day, according to Dr.Malec. Break your studying with a 30-minute walk or stretch. Leaving the area you’re studying at also helps to give the brain a breather.
  • Don’t Cram: Your brain needs breaks sometimes, or else it won’t retain as much information. If you plan on studying for five hours, maybe try balancing it out. For example, many students study for 50 minutes and take a break for 10.
  • Relax: “Relaxation should be a priority so you can be efficient.” Said Dr. Malec. Try studying with music or meditating before and after your studies.
  • Cut down on alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and can cause anxiety. Studying is already challenging enough, and alcohol may only make it worse.

If you’ve tried all of these steps and you’re still feeling anxious, UNF also provides some resources on campus for stressed students.

The UNF Counseling Center offers individual counseling and group counseling if needed. The Counseling Center also has a  relaxation room students can rent out Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Thomas G. Carpenter Library is open late for studying purposes. During finals week, the library usually has a table of counselors or interns to address your worries and needs.

For more information on the counseling center, or if you need help dealing with anxiety, stress or other issues, visit Building 2, room 2300 or call the center at (904) 620-2602.


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