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With exam week quickly approaching, stress levels are getting higher and higher. Papers, projects, and presentations might have you worried over the next few days, but it is important to not let yourself get overwhelmed. Here are some tips to help keep stress at bay while cramming for exams.

1. Get your priorities straight.

Before even cracking open your textbook or starting your paper outline, make a list of the tasks you need to accomplish for classes.  You can also rank these items on your to-do list from easiest to hardest, which makes it clearer as to which things should be finished first. If you have large projects due, try making a timeline of when certain aspects should be completed to track your progress over time. Starting with a clear mind and an organized agenda can help you stay focused and finish work more efficiently.

2. Don’t underestimate the importance of scheduled breaks.

I know it can seem like there isn’t enough time in the day to prepare for all of your exams, especially when you have some on the same day, but taking breaks between subjects can help keep your brain from becoming too cluttered. To prevent information overload that leads to a mental breakdown, plan breaks after reading a certain number of pages, in between sets of flashcards, or after each study guide you complete. 

3. Don’t rely on caffeine.

While hydration is crucial during exam prep, drinking excessive amounts of coffee or soda to keep yourself awake will ultimately lead to a caffeine crash with harsh side effects. Though caffeine can provide a jolt of energy and is fine in moderation, too much can prevent you from focusing and remembering the information you studied. Instead make sure to drink plenty of water, swap out coffee for tea and if you must have caffeine, and try to stay away from super sugary drinks. 

4. Exercise the stress away.

Studying can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, but exercising muscles other than your brain can boost endorphins and lower your stress levels. Working out could mean yoga, lifting weights or just going for a run; all of these are great options to give you some time away from the textbooks and elevate your mood.

5. Don’t neglect a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes all-nighters can seem like the only option to be ready for the huge exam, but missing out on sleep can make you extremely exhausted during the exam and keep you from remembering what you studied the night before. Instead, set time to close the textbook and turn in for the night. Giving your notes a quick review the morning of the exam and the information is more likely to stay in your mind as opposed to trying to focus on no sleep.

6. Study with a partner. 

Having someone to hold you accountable when studying can keep you on track and moving through information more quickly. Whether your partner is your roommate, a classmate or some poor soul in the library also suffering through exam week, having someone quiz you on your notes or flashcards improves information recall. 

7. Make time for non-exam related things. 

Though it might seem hard to relax until after every exam is taken, constant studying can easily lead to burn-out before exams even start. Make time to do fun things amidst the exam chaos, like going to the movies, going out to dinner, or just having a chill textbook-free evening.

It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the stress of exam week, but just stay strong and remember what you are working for. Good luck on your exams!

My name is Isabella Whitehead, but I mostly go by Bella. I am currently a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro majoring in Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies. I have been a part of the Her Campus UNCG team since Fall 2017 and will be stepping up this year as a Co-Campus Correspondent. Writing is a passion of mine and I enjoy working with HerCampus to inform, entertain and empower my fellow students. 
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