Time management beneficial for reducing stress, test anxiety

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It’s near the end of prep week, more commonly known as “dead week,” and that means finals week begins in just about four days. Some will face excruciatingly early finals, while others might have to suffer at night. A small selection of lucky students won’t even have to face any finals.

By next Friday evening, however, students will be able take a collective breath of fresh air and a sigh of relief, as the spring 2014 semester will be over. Until then, the stresses of preparing for entire a semester’s worth of material will continue to weigh down the majority of K-State’s student population.

One thing students should consider as they continue to prepare for final examinations, projects or papers, is good time management. According to a 2000 study conducted by American Journal of Health Studies, there is a direct correlation between time management and perceived academic stress. While some students think taking a break from their studies will help them to feel less stressed, the study found that there is a weak correlation between academic stress and partaking in leisure activities. The study concluded that better time management behaviors warded off academic stress better than engaging in leisure activities.

This suggests that as students figure out how to feel less stressed about the end of this semester, they should focus on budgeting their time effectively. So, here are some ways students can effectively manage their time.

1. Set priorities
There is a distinction between important and urgent. According to a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension time management tool, students should focus on items that are important, rather than urgent. While most things seem both urgent and important at the end of the semester, find the distinction between the two. The workbook suggests that using this to focus on the important activities allows a greater sense of control and might reduce the number of important tasks that eventually become urgent.

2. Create to-do lists
Creating and sticking to a to-do list can benefit almost all students during this time of the year. According to a University of Kent article, there are many advantages to creating and keeping these lists. They can help students focus their minds on important objectives and can help reduce the likelihood of forgetting tasks and save time. To-do lists are effective tools that students should utilize when many tasks need to be accomplished during finals week.

3. Practice effective study techniques
Practicing effective study techniques could include a wide variety of things. According to an article by San Jose State University, practicing effective study techniques include studying in an appropriate area for the student, splitting larger tasks into smaller and more manageable tasks, and being prepared to ask questions while studying. These all could be critical when studying for finals. Another suggestion was reading chapters for comprehension instead of simply skimming reading material. Re-reading content can also be effective for students who need repetition of content from their courses for their finals, especially cumulative finals.

4. Stop procrastinating
Procrastination is the downfall of many students. When students stop making excuses for not accomplishing tasks, they become more productive. According to a 2012 article from North Dakota State University, if tasks seem overwhelming or unpleasant, breaking them down into smaller tasks or implementing a self-reward system upon completing tasks can be effective. Incentives or rewards can be useful when one’s finals week seems overwhelming.

There are a wide variety of ways students can manage their time; poor time management can lead to higher levels of stress or anxiety towards academics.

By setting priorities, keeping to-do lists, practicing effective study techniques, avoiding procrastination and having good time management, students can succeed during finals week.

Jakki Forester is a junior in journalism and American ethnic studies. Please send all comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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