Final Exam Time for Your College Student

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You know that your student is struggling and you feel as though you cannot do a lot to help.  Sometimes final exam period may feel like one of those times.  You can’t take the exams for your child.  You may be too far away to help him study (and you probably shouldn’t be doing that anyway).  You know that your student is stressed, and exhausted, and you must simply stand back and watch. 

Recognize that many students may not be intimidated by final exams.  Some students thrive on the challenge, have done their work all semester, and will take this period in stride.  If this is your student, congratulate her, and stand back and relax.

However, many students do find this time stressful.  This is true of both outstanding students and those who may have been struggling.  There is a lot of work, and a lot of pressure, for many students at exam time.  Here are a few things that you can do:

  • When you talk to your student, give plenty of encouragement.  Let her know that you understand that she’s under stress.  Remind her that she will get through this.
  • Share a few tips with her about getting through finals.  Remind her to get rest, to organize her time, to get help studying, to stay focused.  A few good tips can help your student feel as though she is in control of what happens during this stressful time.  But be careful not to overwhelm her.  Give suggestions, then step back. 
  • Send bits of encouragement.  A card that arrives in her mailbox, a funny comic strip, an e-card, a care package from home, can brighten a day. 
  • Before you make any necessary arrangements for travel home, make sure you check your student’s exam schedule.  It is often difficult, and sometimes not possible, to make special arrangements to take an exam at an alternate time. 
  • Try not to bother your student with issues from home during this time if you can help it.  Of course, you want to stay connected and talk about anything important, and some issues can’t wait.  But if there is anything going on at home that can wait until after exams, try to wait. 

The final exam period is an intense, stressful time for students.  But it is a relatively short period of time.  By providing understanding, encouragement, and a bit of support from home, and then standing back and letting her do what she needs to do,  you can do a lot to help your student succeed.

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