BSM works with students to help them deal with finals stress


Trying to get beyond perfect grades can be one cause of stress in school, especially around finals.

Flint Frohman, Staff Writer

In the weeks leading up to finals and during finals week, sometimes students feel as if they are being crushed by anxiety. The good news is that although this feeling is pretty common, there are many ways to mitigate stress and anxiety leading up to and during tests.

When leading up to a final, it is a good idea to start studying in increments, even short, ten-minute ones. “Preparation over multiple days is a good thing to prevent stress,” Ms. Kristin Gilbertson, BSM’s Director of Learning Support, said.

A little bit of nervousness and even a feeling of anxiousness can be a good thing. “A little bit of nervousness before a test is normal, that’s what propels us to study and want to do well…We need a little bit of that stress just to motivate us,” Gilbertson said.

Some stress can motivate students to do well on a test because, usually, nervousness means that someone cares about doing well. “But when it starts overwhelming our body and affecting us physically, when kids get headaches, stomach aches, and can’t sleep then it starts being a problem,” Gilbertson said.

Stress affects the body in a multitude of ways and can have many negative effects especially around test time. “I see it impacting their attendance, and then there are definitely kids who the stress gets in the way of their performance. Like it just takes up so much space in their brain that cognitively they can’t perform as well as they should given their abilities,” Gilbertson said.

There are definitely kids who the stress gets in the way of their performance.”

— Ms. Kristen Gilbertson

Many students have found that when they sit down for a test, their mind goes blank. “I think it’s an issue in that when we are very stressed and anxious about something we avoid it…I think for finals especially we need to start and do minor reviews in the semesters leading up to finals,” counselor Ms. Kate Berry said.

Berry also recommends that students go through the questions they already know the answers to so they feel more confident when doing difficult questions.

It is easier to recognize an issue in hindsight, and stress is no exception. Berry has found that students will often come in after they have done poorly on a test, and reported that they were feeling anxious.“I think it would be better if a student were feeling stressed or anxious to come in beforehand, so we can talk about methods to calm your body,” Berry said.

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To help reduce stress in the moment, Berry recommends students breathe in for three seconds, hold it, and breathe out for five seconds.

BSM tries to help all students do the best they can on tests. “Kids with diagnosed disabilities can use the quiet study room, so I always encourage them to do that just to get them in a different setting,” Gilbertson said.

Stress among students is a persistent issue. “I shouldn’t say it’s increasing, I think it’s about the same, but our awareness of it is increasing,” Gilbertson said.