David Page (front) senior in computer science, Charlotte Crawford (right), junior in environmental engineering, and Thomas Lynn (left), junior in chemical
David Page (front) senior in computer science, Charlotte Crawford (right), junior in environmental engineering, and Thomas Lynn (left), junior in chemical engineering, relax during a group gathering to teach students how to stay calm during finals sponsored by CAPS at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado December 13, 2012. (Mark Leffingwell)
Study tips

1. Use old tests: Use them as study guides to help you figure out what might be covered on a cumulative test.

2. Keep track of questions: Make a 'what I don't know' list for each subject to use as your second study guide.

3. Pace yourself: Get rid of distractions. Schedule study sessions in two-hour blocks. Study each day for each exam.

Source: Karen Wyatt, of CU's Student Academic Success Center

University of Colorado students are attending their last classes Friday but that doesn't mean the hard work is over yet.

In fact, for many students, the stress is going to increase Saturday as finals week starts .

Many students will spend the next week studying with few breaks even for eating, sleeping or relaxing, which Dina Kriakova, of CU's Counseling and Psychological Services, said could be counterproductive.

"If they're not taking breaks, they could be undoing a lot of the studying," Kriakova said. "They need some time to relax and recharge in order to keep up their energy and stay focused."

Kriakova said research has found that students should ideally take a 15-minute break for every 45 minutes of studying.

"I think the best kind of break includes healthy activities like having a healthy snack or getting outside for some fresh air and socializing," Kriakova said. "Taking a quick walk with a friend would be optimal, and socializing is good for keeping your spirits up."


Students should try not to browse the internet or text during breaks since the screens will make it difficult for students to relax, but a quick phone call to a friend or family member can be a productive break, she said.

CAPS is hosting Feel Good Fridays, a guided-relaxation session, from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. this week and next in the Center for Community's Abrams Lounge.

Rather than taking frequent, short breaks, CU senior Rhiana Henry said she rewards herself after a long day of studying with some food, friends and slasher flicks.

"After my thermo (Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics) final last year, a friend and I went back to my place specifically to have a strong drink and watch a violent movie," Henry said. "We needed to blow off steam."

CU sophomore Claire Green said she likes to workout at the Recreation Center during her breaks.

"It relieves stress and keeps my energy up," Green said. "Plus, I'm a social person so I like going to the gym and talking to and seeing other people."

While the students used their downtime in different ways, they agreed that the best way to relax after a long study session is sleep.

Kriakova sends out daily stress tips, like "take a hot bath or shower to relieve tension," from the Twitter account @stressbreak20.

CAPS offers several free classes throughout the semester, including finals week, that can provide students the quick and refreshing break they need from studying.

The office leads relaxation breaks for students in the dorms, student groups and open sessions on campus to help teach students how to relax on their own time. Check out colorado.edu/events for times and locations.


Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.