Finals time can be a rather nerve racking time for college students, especially freshmen. The fact that one final test will be the last opportunity to make an impact on your grade is pretty intimidating, especially if it is a difficult class. Then throw in the fact that there will be three or four other final exams and you have a real problem on your hands. Thankfully there are some great strategies to relieve the stress of finals, some of which can be pretty fun.
The first thing you need to do is measure up what the final will be like. Many professors will make it easy and come out and tell you. You might have to figure it out by asking people who have been in the class before. Your RA, older fraternity/sorority brothers/sisters, or another person that you know probably either had that professor or knows someone who did. If you already know that two of your finals will be 20 multiple choice questions based on the last third of the course then you know that you do not have too much to worry about when it comes to those courses. You will know which finals you will need to study hard for and which ones you may not need to study for at all this way.
You should have most, if not all, of your grades in your courses a few weeks before your finals. Using the grading formula in your syllabus, you should compute your current grade average and what you will need to get certain letter grades on each of your finals. You can worry a lot less about a final if you know you only need a 30 to get a C, a 50 to get a B, and a 70 to get an A. The last semester I was in school I did not have to worry about my finals at all because I could have not even showed up to two of the three finals I had and still graduated. Granted I still still studied and made As for my final grades in the courses, but I was not worried about it. Even if you are close to failing you will at least be able to determine what grade you will need on the final to pass. This is great for helping ease the stress of having the finals on the horizon.
Odds are your school will have a few days of designated study days between the end of scheduled lectures and the designated times for finals. Use these times to study, but do not take it too seriously. The more you study, the more likely you are to keep stressing about it more. It is because you are tired and cranky because of the massive amounts of time you have spent staring at a textbook. So how do you solve this? Well, the night of your last day of class should be a fun one. Go out to dinner with your friends, watch a movie, play HALO, just do something that you will enjoy. This will give you a little bit of time to get school off of your mind for a little while. Go to bed early, wake up, and have a good breakfast. Then you should hit the books, reviewing the notes for each class until you get cannot stand to look at them any more. Then switch to the next course. Have lunch, watch a little TV, then repeat the process. If you find that making your own personal study guide will help then now would be a good time to do so. Have dinner, go have a little bit of fun, and then go to bed and repeat the process all over again. This will allow you to get plenty of productive studying done while also giving you enough recreation to avoid anxiety.
While you are studying you could take the occasional break to cause some mayhem. Play a prank on your suite mates. Launch water balloons across the quad. Have a snowball fight. Many schools have specific traditions such as streaking across campus during finals. A little controlled chaos can help you release the tension you have been feeling because of finals. Do not do anything too crazy though, the city jailers probably will not let you call your roommate to get your books if you have to wait to post your bail.
These are the best ways to cope with the anxiety you will probably feel about final exams. And just remember that most professors will make final exams just a little bit easier than their usual tests.