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Finals season is around the corner! It is important to approach this part of the semester with a good mindset and a pocketful of tips and tricks to help you put your best foot forward. Below are some tips to ensure a happier and more successful experience with finals.

1. Get enough sleep!

One of the best ways to ensure you perform to your best ability on an exam is to get good rest! Listening to calming music or background sounds can really soothe the mind and help you slowly enter into a deep sleep. Meditation apps tend to provide really great songs and sounds. We highly recommend the Tide app, which plays sounds like raindrops or ocean waves and even saves phone battery by shutting off after a certain amount of time. Soft jazz can also be a great backdrop to fall asleep to; this YouTube video is an 11-hour peaceful jazz mix that can ensure great sleep.

2. Plan out your study schedule

Procrastination poses one of the biggest challenges to an effective study session. Oftentimes a “break” can turn into an hour-long YouTube spiral, which can lead to a cycle of pushing back work, feeling anxious from being unprepared, and back to more procrastination in the hopes of feeling better. To prevent this, it’s important to write down all the tasks you want to accomplish each day and each week, either on a hard-copy agenda or with one of many great electronic options. Toggl, for example, allows you to plan and track your time. Another completely free option is Google Calendar. For more ideas, read our task manager guide comparing four different planners.

3. Form study groups

Most people picture intensive studying as an isolated task. A great way to both relieve stress and get some work done is to form study groups, especially with people in your classes. Quizzing each other is a surefire way to review past material and cover more ground. If you simply want to study in the presence of others but can’t due to social distancing restrictions, try out online study rooms, like this one.  If you feel totally unprepared, though, it may be a good idea to study by yourself before seeking help from study groups.

4. Move around

Taking care of your mental health is critical during these weeks: not only to boost your performance but also because your wellbeing matters. A good way to incorporate some fun into your finals schedule would be to participate in some type of exercise or sport. Because of COVID-19, many gyms may be closed or restricted, but you can always pull out a mat and try working out at home! If you’re really looking for that in-person feel, check out our guide for indoor fitness classes. Research has shown that exercising and moving around leads to greater happiness and satisfaction. If you have time in your busy week, instead of staying in and watching a movie, go for a run with friends!

During this semester’s finals season, whether you are on campus or off, study hard, but remember to take care of yourself. Even during the busiest part of the semester, balance in your daily routine is still important.

Staff writer Charlotte Wu can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

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