With the number of classes remaining in the single digits,, college students are getting ready for summer – swimming, snow-cones and sleep (or not, if you are preparing for the MCAT). But wait – there’s just one “small” detail standing in the way of these great things: finals. They’re miserable, tough and make your brain physically hurt; however, here are some traditional (and maybe some unorthodox) tips to help you survive through finals and be on your way to summer 2015.
1. Take breaks.
I know you feel the pressure, and rightly so. Learning every lesson of the past semester in one week’s time is stressful; but trust me, your brain will appreciate the 10 minute break every 45- 60 minutes and will function noticeably better with regular breaks.
2. Find “your” place
Every student is different in terms of what works best for them – some need complete silence in a library cubicle, others need to be in a coffee shop environment. Experiment to find what place works best for you. Internet resources (Yelp, Thrillist, Spoon University, etc.) are great for trying to find new places to study on- and off-campus.
Repeated studies have shown that getting 6-7 hours of sleep a night allows the brain to function at a higher level.
*However, an interesting caveat exists for you crammers. If absolutely necessary, it is best to get more sleep two nights before the test, and less sleep the night before the test. After a sleepless night, Adrenaline will help carry you through the test (but only through the next day)!
Stock up on some nutritious snacks and meals that are conducive to studying and stay away from Wendy’s. In addition, eat meals at regular intervals throughout the day. Some foods proven to aid studying include berries/most fruits, fish, nuts, chocolate, whole grains and caffeine (which means coffee!).
*A tip with eating during finals week – if you’re going to eat out, try and find a sandwich shop (with whole grain breads) instead of a hamburger joint. Also, try and prepare simple snacks/meals ahead of time, before finals week begins.
Studies have shown that dancing improves memory. This could be socially, or by yourself in your room – just bust a move and you’ll immediately feel better. (Hint: This could serve doubly as a bonding experience with your roommates)
*Any other form of cardio exercise can help with studying. Overall, studies have shown that 20 minutes of cardio right before sitting or taking an exam vastly improves memory retention. In addition, these activities release endorphins allowing you to feel better about the pile of papers sitting in front of you.
6. Believe in yourself.
You are smart and resilient. You’ve made it this far; you can do one more week. Remember why you are studying so hard and how this will help you achieve your goals (whether they be long term or short term). Also, relish in the fact that you really are learning so much in this whole "college" thing.