Finals week is one of the most stressful parts of high school and college. The year is coming to an end, and students are ready to begin their summers. The only thing standing in their way is a series of tests on what they’ve learned over the year. Finals week can be equally stressful for parents who are ensuring their kids finish strong.

Parents and students alike can take good habits into final weeks to ensure they will produce great results. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your finals week that will help you even when school is out!

  1. Rest. That goes for everyone, not just a student with mountains of books to read. Staying up all night to study for a test doesn’t work. A sleep-deprived brain is a dysfunctional brain. Your memory and retention only gets worse with each hour of sleep lost. You’ll retain more information if you study earlier in the day when your brain is refreshed. For parents, that means encouraging studying during the day and enforcing a bedtime, if you must.
  2. Take care of yourself. In addition to getting rest, taking care of your body is necessary. This means limiting caffeine and junk food consumption. Caffeine dehydrates the body and can cause or heighten anxiety, which will disrupt the mind’s ability to study. Junk food may offer a quick energy boost, but quickly leaves you feeling drained. Eating healthy is going to provide longer-lasting energy while also just being a better alternative. And don’t forget to get up and move around. Exercise keeps the blood moving and recharges the brain.
  3. Make a plan. Setting up a study schedule with achievable goals will help students succeed in getting through all their material. Before jumping into geometry or British lit, plan a studying schedule, complete with sleep, meals and free time to look away from the books for a little while. Planning with goals is great for any activity, so you have something to look forward to and progress to track. Parents, this is where you can help your kids, even if they are in college and “don’t need you anymore.”
  4. Go dark on social media. As difficult as it is, eliminating distraction is going to help, so click out of social media during study time. Don’t fall down an endless path of videos, memes and retweets. Shut down the social media while working or make it a part of the plan to check in during a scheduled break.
  5. Collaborate and ask for help. For parents, sit down with your high schooler to make a plan or encourage your college student to keep going because they’re almost there. For students, join a study group, ask others who have taken your classes for pointers and take any advice you can on how to plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. That’s what friends, family, and mentors are for!

Don’t let all the work and effort go to waste because of a hard finals week! Take finals as an opportunity to effectively prepare your mind and stay healthy in the process.