There’s only one thing standing between you and summer freedom: finals! That two-week period of all-nighters, questionable hygiene and endless coffee can wreak havoc on your body — and your brain. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of studying while actually taking care of yourself.
We know you know you should be doing this. Those eight glasses of water a day become even more important during exams because your brain works best when it’s hydrated. Make sure to keep a water bottle close by while you’re studying. Go ahead and be that person who carries around a jug of water, and come out of finals week with some bangin’ biceps for extra credit. Don’t forget to bring water into the exam room on the day of the test; the last thing you need is to be distracted by thirst!
Have a clean and quiet study space
Contrary to popular belief, having your favorite TV show on for “background noise” will not help you focus (who knew?!). Keep distractions to a minimum (ahem, this is where that “Do Not Disturb” phone function comes in handy) and get in the zone with a clean and organized study space. Find a well-lit spot with a large enough surface to spread out your materials so you don’t waste time looking for the right notes, and make sure you have a comfortable chair. Back pain will not benefit you on test day.
Don’t skip the gym
Exercise is one of the best ways to kick-start your brain, releasing proteins that improve memory and performance. It’ll also give you an energy boost when you start getting tired. Join a group fitness class or take a jog outside and get some bonus vitamin D. Regular breaks are important to give your mind time to absorb and retain all the information it’s learning. Just don’t spend more time on break than you do on studying.
Start a study group
While it may not be as fun as a dinner date or trip to the movies, studying together with your friends during exams can actually help your preparation and hold you accountable. Share key concepts, ask and answer questions, and take turns quizzing each other. Order your favorite sharing snack foods for delivery wherever you’re studying.
The foods you eat have a huge impact on your focus and energy. Ingredients like olive oil, avocado, seeds and nuts can help keep your memory in shape, while foods rich in vitamin B like eggs, meat and whole grains will keep you energized. Don’t forget those leafy greens, which are high in vitamins A and C and can support your immune system so stress doesn’t leave you sick. Start exam day with a good meal, like an egg sandwich, oatmeal, or even a salad. Hey, it’s for your brain!
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