How to handle finals and stress

The end of the semester is just around the corner, and the end of the academic year comes hand-in-hand with final tests, and test-related stress.

Learning Support Specialist Mary Turner said taking control of study habits and learning how to manage time helps students lower their stress levels.

“I would encourage students to sit down and look at what they need to accomplish between now and May 11,” Turner said. “Work backward over those three weeks, so students have a clear expectation of where their time is going to go.”

Turner said the anxiety of meeting deadlines can be due to a fear of failure.


“Sometimes what holds people back is the fear of facing that deadline, either the fear of not being perfect or not being as good as they like,” Turner said.

However, Turner said, it’s sometimes necessary to settle for less-than-perfect.

“We’re at the point in the semester where good enough is good enough,” Turner said.

“You just have to take on that realistic attitude.

“Realistically, if I’m not strong in English, or if I’m not strong in math, the idea that I have to have an A in that class can really hurt more than help.”

Turner says recognizing ones own limits and prioritizing what they do well at is important to maintaining calm and assuring they excel in what they are good at.

“Be willing to take that C, sometimes even taking the D,” Turner said.

“If it gets you through the class, if it moves you forward — we just need to be realistic about what we’re able to do, especially now that we’re past the drop deadline for the 16-week classes.

“We just have to sit down and decide, ‘Okay, I’m going to sacrifice some of my grade here, because I have a good chance of doing very well in this class,’ and we prioritize.”

For more information on how to manage stress during finals week or about future Brown Bag events, call Student Support Services at 405-682-7520 or attend a Brown Bag lunch for more tips.

To contact Mary McAtee, email

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