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News Release


Surviving Finals Week

Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 5, 2003) -- Christmas break for college students is, as the song says, a most wonderful time of the year. But there's still one hill to climb: finals, a most nerve-wracking time of the year. While some stress can actually be a positive motivator for taking these end-of-term tests, too much stress can interfere with a student's performance. With a couple weeks left in the semester, it’s time to focus on getting through this demanding time.
Dolores Cimini, Ph.D., director of Middle Earth, the University at Albany’s Peer Counseling service, offers this advice to help make the end-of-the-semester experience less stressful:

Deal with your anxiety
Try to determine the source of your test anxiety. If it stems from a lack of preparation on your part, your anxiety is a rational response. However, if you believe that you are prepared for the test but are still panicking or overreacting, this might be an irrational response. Either way, it can be very helpful to know how to work with their effects.

Prepare for those tests and assignments
The best ways to minimize preparation anxiety:
• Avoid cramming, which can produce high levels of anxiety and is not helpful in trying to learn a large amount of material.
• Instead of trying to memorize all of the intricate details from an entire semester’s worth of notes, try combining everything and learning the larger, main concepts first.
• When studying, try to create questions that could possibly be asked on the test. Try integrating ideas from lectures, notes, books and other readings.
• If it is impossible to cover all of the material for the test, choose one portion that you know you will be able to cover and present well.

Change your attitude
It can help to change the way you think about taking tests. A test does not predict your future success or determine your self worth. Changing attitudes can actually help you enjoy studying and learning:
• Remind yourself that it is only a test and there will be others.
• Reward yourself when the test is over.
• Think of yourself in a positive way. Think of all the hard work you have done already or think of what you do know.
• Plan ways to improve next semester.

Don’t forget the basics
• Think of yourself as a total person, not just as a test taker.
• Maintain proper nutrition and exercise, and continue some of your social or recreational activities. It is okay to take a break once in a while.
• Make sure you get plenty of sleep. You cannot function at your best if you are tired.
• Do something relaxing when you feel adequately prepared.

Finally, when test day comes, make sure you eat breakfast and avoid caffeine. Caffeine can give you the jitters and disturb your concentration. Again, try to do something relaxing before the test. Cramming minutes before can produce anxiety. Get to the test early. This way, you can pick out your seat away from anxiety-ridden classmates and other distractions.


Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and colleges. The University is engaged in a $500 million fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in its history, with the goal of placing it among the nation's top 30 public research universities by the end of the decade. For more information about this nationally ranked University, visit

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