How to Relax During Final Exams

Many gifted instructors share their wisdom for this blog. We especially want to share the following during final exam time. Below, Shelley Carson shares her tips on how to catch your breath amidst the maddening whirl of studying, work obligations, home tasks, and everything in between.

Test anxiety

You’re in the lecture hall and the teaching assistant is passing out the final exams. You know the material, but your heart starts pounding and you feel your stomach knotting up anyway. What can you do?

Try two minutes of deep breathing

  1. Breathe in by taking air deep into your stomach rather than your chest. Your belly should extend all the way out while your chest remains still.
  2. Breathe out slowly, allowing your belly to deflate.
  3. Pause.
  4. Breathe in again, and think the number one to yourself.
  5. Then, breathe out slowly and think the word “relax.”
  6. On your next breath, think two as you breathe in, and “relax” as you breathe out.
  7. Continue counting until you reach eight, and then count backward back down to one. Try to focus only on your breathing and the words.

Two minutes of deep breathing will not only relax you, it will send oxygen to your brain to help you think clearly.

To find out when and where your final exam will take place, see the final exam schedule.

Anonymous replied:

I count powers of two in my head. By 2^12, it takes enough concentration that it becomes hard to focus on being anxious. I am usually more or less relaxed by 2^18.