As finals week approaches, most Penn Staters begin to flock to their favorite study spots to start preparations for a grueling week of exams and projects. Worrying about exams is common, and can even help your mind stay focused and sharp. However, when worrying becomes intense and overwhelming, it may be test anxiety.
Test anxiety can affect anyone. Experts suggest a few simple strategies that everyone can use to help reduce test anxiety and increase your chances for success during finals week.

  1. Learn what study styles work for you. Think about exams you have done well on in the past. How did you study for those exams? Consider using similar strategies for upcoming exams.
  2. Establish a routine. Make a schedule for the next few weeks to help you follow a similar routine each day. On the days of your exams, follow the same steps. This will help you feel calm and well prepared.
  3. Eat healthy and stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and fuel your body with healthy food during study sessions. Your body and brain need attention when studying. Check out some easy, healthy recipes at: http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/eating/cooking-videos-healthy-eating-with-healthworks/
  4. Be active. Exercise to relieve stress and boost your mood. Although you may feel like you are too busy studying, it’s important to take an active break.
  5. Sleep is important. Sleep after studying to help encode new information into long term memory.  This will help you recall the information on the day of the exam. Getting a good night’s sleep is important when you’re studying for exams.
  6. Take a break. Check out Penn State Libraries’ De-Stress Fest.

  1. Ask for help. Consider meeting with your professor or a staff person from Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). If you think you are experiencing test anxiety, talk to somebody about it. Book an appointment with CAPS at: 814-863-0395.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/expert-answers/test-anxiety/faq-20058195

http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/counseling/self-help_anxiety.shtml

Sleep Series 3

According to Jessica Payne, a psychologist at Notre Dame University, going to sleep right after studying can help you remember new information.  In a recent study, Payne found that “memory was superior when sleep occurred shortly after learning rather than following a full day of wakefulness.”[1]

Penn State students ranked sleep difficulty as the third highest health issue affecting their academics.[2]

Here are three tips that could help you sleep better:

  1. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep! This will maximize your learning, memory, and academic performance.
  2. Keep a consistent sleep schedule: going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day will help you set your internal clock and help you get better sleep
  3. Relax! Create a pre-sleep ritual.  Get ready for bed each night by practicing deep breathing or listening to relaxing music.

Stop by 201 Student Health Center to pick up your free sleep kit.  It includes an eye mask, earplugs, and tips from the Sleep Sheep on how to get a better night’s sleep.

[1] Payne, J. D., Tucker, M. A., Ellenbogen, J. M., Wamsley, E. J., Walker, M. P., Schacter, D. L., & Stickgold, R. (n.d.). Memory for Semantically Related and Unrelated Declarative Information: The Benefit of Sleep, the Cost of Wake. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/authors?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0033079

[2] Healthy Penn State. University Health Services, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/wp-content/uploads/sites/4423/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf

 

Sleep Series 2

According to Michael L. Lee, PhD and lead author on Harvard sleep study, drowsy driving exhibited reactions similar to behaviors observed in drivers with elevated blood alcohol concentrations.  Drowsy driving is just as risky and has the potential for disaster as drunk driving.[1]

Only 1 in 3 Penn State students reported getting enough sleep to feel rested at least 5 of the last 7 days.[2]

Here are three tips that can help you sleep better:

  1. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep! This will maximize your learning, memory, and academic performance.
  2. Hit the gym early, at least 2-3 hours before you hit the hay. Regular exercise earlier in the day can help you fall asleep at night, but working out to close to bedtime can interfere with sleep.
  3. Avoid tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime. Nicotine and caffeine are stimulants and can keep you awake.  Alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but it disrupts the sleep cycle later in the night.

Stop by 201 Student Health Center to pick up your free sleep kit, it includes an eye mask, earplugs, and tips from the Sleep Sheep on how to get a better night’s sleep.

[1] LeWine, M.D. Howard. “Too Little Sleep, and Too Much, Affect Memory.” Harvard Health Blog. N.p., 29 Oct. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

Too little sleep, and too much, affect memory

[2] Healthy Penn State. University Health Services, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.

http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/wp-content/uploads/sites/4423/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf

 

Extreme Stater Student Coordinator Positions now open!

Check out this video for details on Penn State’s Extreme Stater. This fun outdoor adventure race takes place each fall at Stone Valley Recreation Area. Apply for fall 2017 positions by April 14th! We are currently seeking to fill the following positions:

Donations Coordinator, Resources & Logistics Coordinator, PR & Marketing Coordinator, and Volunteer Coordinator

Click to learn more about each position

For more information, email Erin Raupers at eeg5005@psu.edu

Video created by Michelle Mehallow

Sleep Series 1

Research at Brown University has found that approximately 73% of student’s report sleep problems.[1]  As a student, we prioritize our days based around academics, extracurricular activities, and jobs, without thinking about another important aspect in our lives, SLEEP.

18% of Penn State students report that sleep difficulty affects their academic performance.[2]

Here are three trips that can help you sleep better:

  1. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep! This will maximize learning, memory, and academic performance
  2. Turn off lights, use curtains, or wear a sleep mask to fall asleep faster.
  3. Keep your eyes off the clock. If you can’t sleep, don’t watch the clock.  Get out of bed, read or listen to music, and when you get tired again go back to bed.

Stop by 201 Student Health Center to pick up your free sleep kit.  The kid includes an eye mask, earplugs, and tips from the Sleep Sheep on how to get a better night’s sleep.

[1] Sleep all day, work all night: Numerous college students experience sleep deprivation. Retrieved April 04, 2017, from http://www.theslateonline.com/article/2016/02/sleep-all-day-work-all-night-numerous-college-students-experience-sleep-deprivation

[2] Healthy Penn State. University Health Services, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2017. http://sites.psu.edu/healthypennstate/wp-content/uploads/sites/4423/2016/07/Accessible-version-PSU-Annual-Report-2016.pdf