Feeling the pressure of those looming final exams? It’s certainly no secret that it comes down to how much time you spend on studying and how well you manage your time.

If you find yourself stressing, use these five tips to help you stay calm and focused so that you can ace your final exams.

Create a Focus Environment

 Some students study best in the library with no distractions, others prefer white noise in a coffee shop, while others study best from the comfort of their couch. If you prefer to study at home, make your Ottawa apartment a focus zone. Clean up, keep the fridge stocked and the coffee brewing, put on a focus playlist, put your phone on silent, and get to work!

Forget About Cramming

We all know just how ineffective it is to try to memorize the capitals of the world or the atomic weight of each element on the period table the night before a big exam. Forget about cramming and start thinking about mapping out your study time. We get that the idea of scheduling in study time can be a total pain, but your brain and your grades will thank you.

Create a schedule that begins at least two weeks prior to the big day. Aim to dedicate at least one study block every day during those two weeks. If you can make room for two, you’re guaranteed to ace that exam. With multiple exams, you’ll need to seriously crank up the study time at least for the last two weeks. That means toning down your social life until after exams are complete.

Use a Study Buddy or Group

If you find yourself struggling to stay disciplined and focused, using a study buddy system or joining a study group can be an extremely helpful strategy. Ask your classmates or check out your school resources – many schools help organize designated study groups.

Help Retain Information by Connecting Concepts

Retaining information by just reading it over multiples times isn’t a very effective way of learning. Try to incorporate different ways of learning by reviewing concepts after reading them in a way that helps you connect to their meaning. For example, you can do this by making charts or graphs to connect timelines with important events, or simple diagrams that connect concepts together. Learning and studying effectively is greatly based on how you break down major concepts and connect them in ways that make sense to you.

 Review the Day Before and Relax the Day Of

When it reaches the day before the final exam, this is the time for your final review. At this point, the learning phase is over and it’s all about self-testing and going over the information. When exam day arrives, be sure to go to bed early so that you feel refreshed in the morning. Get up early enough to take your time and eat a good breakfast. Aim to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the exam. As hard as it may be, try to avoid doing any more studying at this point. This can make you more flustered and even cause your mind to blank during the exam. Take the time to calm your nerves and your mind. Listening to relaxing music is a great way to mellow your mind and focus.

Keep Calm and Remember to Breathe

Once you have the exam, take a moment to review it. Consider what areas of the exam count for a larger percentage of the final grade and start with those sections. Always remember to move on if you find yourself really struggling with one question, and most importantly, don’t forget to breathe!

Good luck with finals! We know you’ll rock it!