Summer is just around the corner, but before young people can get to enjoy the long days of summer vacation they (and their parents) have to make it through final exam week.

It's often a difficult and stressful time for households. But it doesn't have to be that way according to Katherine Penner. Penner is a school psychologist for the Winnipeg School Division, and says that with a few tips exam week can become much more enjoyable for both teens and parents. 

Here are her tips for getting through the end of the school year on a positive note:

Spaced rehearsal (vs cramming)

A lot of people have a tendency to "cram" the night before an exam. Penner says this can actually work against us, making material difficult to remember. 

"Make sure you're engaged in spaced rehearsal. For supporting memory and learning it's much better if you're regularly reviewing material. Even if it's over just a couple spaced out days or sessions."

Repeat practice strengthens our learning pathways, according to Penner.

Active studying (vs passive)

Active studying can help encode material to our brains. It can be as simple as using a highlighter on your reading material rather than just simply reading over it.

"You can even make it a game, use index cards, or, if you're a visual learner, you can do things like visual mapping. It's important that you find ways that work for you and your learning style."

Active learning has a tendency to make material meaningful to the studier she says, and when something becomes meaningful it becomes more easily memorable.

Engage in self-care (including sleep)

We have a tendency to not take care of ourselves when we're stressed, and cramming. "When your brain is calm and regulated, it's in the best space for learning," Penner tells us.

Things as simple as taking small breaks, eating, and showering help the brain relax. Even taking the time to visit with friends can actually be helpful.

Most important of all is that you're taking the time to get enough sleep. "Research shows that making sure you're getting enough sleep is critical because sleep is important for consolidating memory."

How parents can help

The first thing parents can do to help is ensuring their kids are taking the time to put the above tips into practice. 

Most importantly, Penner encourages parents to "Just be an encouragement, helping your kids stay calm and well regulated. Provide them with reassurance, love, and care."