College exams are stressful, but if you are preparing for midterms or finals, then the stress can really dial itself up a notch. In order to increase your chances of performing well on your exams, it can be very helpful to organize a study session with a friend or two. Even if you decide to study alone, you want to be sure that you know how to keep your stress down, and you can apply all of the same principles whether you’re alone or with a group. Here is how to create a stress-free study session in college.

Bring Refreshments

Nothing helps one to relax like a good snack and beverage. You can always relax into a situation much more easily when you feel happily fed. In fact, studies have shown that teachers who give their students snack foods or candy when they take their tests see improved results. The theory is that the immediate satisfaction and the release of serotonin causes one to drop what’s called the “affective filter,” which is basically a mental block that is spawned by anxiety.

Make an Agenda

If you don’t have some kind of study guide to follow, you’ll never be sure how long or how much more you have to study. That’s why you want to be sure that you make a game plan for your study session, and ideally you want to give yourself some tasks to cross off the list. Once you know what you will be tested on, you can develop strategies to prepare yourself for all the different parts of the test.

Pool Your Resources

For every class you will probably have several resources to look through while you study. You will have your textbook and notes, but you might also have lecture recordings or videos online to go back and watch. No matter what your resources might be, you want to make them all readily available while you are studying.

Go to Office Hours

It doesn’t matter whether you are attending a community college or University of Cincinnati, your professor will hold office hours every single week. If you are unsure of anything that you’ve learned so far in the semester, you should be visiting your professor during office hours. You can get all kinds of advice about how to properly study for the exam and what to expect, and this can definitely ease the stress when you are in the middle of studying.

Find the Right Place

If you want to feel comfortable and productive while you study, then you’re going to need to find a place that is conducive for studying. Some days you might be able to study in a cafe or in your bedroom, but if you’re studying with a group, you might want to find a room in the library with a whiteboard. No matter what, you want to be sure that you can spread out all of your things and really feel like you have enough space to move around look at everything.

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