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Finals week is rapidly approaching. Some students may think they can wait until the last minute to crack open those books, review notes and prepare flashcards — but the time to start studying was yesterday. The key to reducing stress when studying for finals is time management. It is extremely difficult to cram in a semester’s worth of material a couple days before the test date, especially with multiple exams. The mistake most students make when studying for finals is procrastinating. This leads to higher stress levels and hinders a student’s ability to perform well on exam day.

Assistant Director of Counseling Services Melissa Hernandez reassures students that, “not all stress is bad. Having some stress helps motivate us to work a little bit harder and a little bit longer to get the job done. Too much stress, however, can be overwhelming and lead your brain to shut down.”

One of the main things students can do to avoid or reduce their stress levels during finals week is to manage their time and avoid procrastination. When students allocate enough time to study before exam day they are less likely to panic.

By making a list of when to complete important tasks, students will be less likely to feel overwhelmed. The benefits of list-making include organizing, prioritizing and managing time efficiently.

“The best way to reduce stress is to build stress management skills. Deep breathing, exercise, stretching, meditation, positive thinking and biofeedback are just some of the options Counseling Services recommends to students,” Hernandez said.

According to Health Education Coordinator II, Amanda Graves, “UTSA Counseling Services offers services to students to help them deal with stress and anxiety.”

Students can reach them at (210) 458-4140. The Tomás Rivera Center also offers services and programs to help students with studying tips and time management skills.

Studying is essential if students want to pass. When preparing for multiple choice and true/false questions, some ways to study are to make flashcards. Quizlet is a free website that provides learning tools for students, including flashcards, study and game modes such as “Test,” which randomly generates tests based on flashcard sets. “Scatter,” allows students to race against the clock to drag and match terms and definitions. And now Quizlet offers a mobile app that allows students to study on the go.

When preparing for oral exams or open-ended response questions, take advantage of group study sessions. The John Peace Library (JPL) now offers a room specifically designed for group study. The room features multiple tables each equipped with wide-screen monitors. Students can easily practice their presentations by using one of these monitors or one of the projector screens located on each wall of the room.

In addition to these study tips, additional events will be on campus to help prepare students for finals week. On Tuesday, April 29 from 3 p.m. -6 p.m., UTSA’s annual Stress Down Day event will take place at the University Center Ski Lodge. Stress Down Day is designed to help students unwind and relax before finals week starts.

“Remember that your final exam stress is temporary. Give yourself encouragement and practice positive self-talk. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. This is not the time to revert to junk food, skip the gym or skip meals,” Hernandez recommended.

“Focus on your end goal, whether it’s passing your class, graduating or that reward you have planned for yourself.”

Counseling Services also will host activities for students to learn stress reduction and relaxation techniques that are separate from Stress Down Day. The activities include biofeedback, art therapy, finals stretch and relaxation exercises starting April 29 through May 1 from 12-1 p.m. located in room RWC 1.806. For more information contact Counseling Services at (210) 458-4140.

Graves encourages students to “have confidence in yourself and do the best you can.”

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