Midterms season is now in full swing andddd….. you didn’t study as much as you had hoped. With so many different things going on in our daily lives, it’s easy for a big test (that at one time seemed so far away…) to accidentally fall to the wayside. Don’t sweat it, there’s still time! Our team has some general study and self-care tips to help you pass with flying colors and a smile on your face (well, as much as a smile you can have after taking a test).
Pick Your Place (or Places)
Pick a spot where you know you can be most productive. This varies from person to person as some students need complete silence and others like having background noise and bustle. Although its easier to just study in your bedroom, you could be getting half as much work done than if you had picked an open space in the library. If you’d like to study at home, declutter your selected work space to make it clean, comfortable and tranquil (but do NOT study in your bed). You can make a huge difference in your attention levels just by clearing off a few items and creating that neutral space to learn.
Turn Off Your Phone Notifications
Ah, yes. Perhaps the biggest procrastination culprit of all, the cellphone. Our phones’ constant notifications make it so difficult to get things that we necessarily don’t want to do, done. One moment you are reviewing your Biology Quizlet, the next you are looking at a funny meme a friend sent you on Instagram. Two hours go by and you are somehow laughing at a cat video from 2014 and realized you have gotten absolutely nothing done. The truth hurts, and it’s telling you to shut off your phone. Try just putting it on Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb, at least that way you are not receiving any notifications that easily can pull you away.
Find Some Jams That Could Help You Focus
Some good tunes can really keep you focused and motivated. Studies show that listening to music while studying can relieve anxiety and stress, as well as help improve endurance and mood. Just like when picking a study spot, every person has different music that they can listen to and enjoy while studying (while still being productive). Experiment and see what works best for you. Some people enjoy listening simply to white noise while others prefer listening to jazz or electronic music. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have tons of different study playlists to chose from that are sure to appeal to any music taste. Take a look at some playlists or create your own!
Take a 10 Minute Break Outdoors
Not only is being in the sun scientifically proven to boost mood, Vitamin D is essential for a healthy brain. Go outside and just sit or walk around the block while observing the space around you. This can really clear your head, refresh your brain, and prepare you for the next study session.
Sleep is Key
Sleep isn’t for the weak. Sleep is actually for the strong. Although cliché, this is a true piece of advice backed by science. Studies upon studies show that sleep deprivation hurts testers cognitively in a detrimental way, and that more sleep and less study time actually improves test results. Although we advocate students getting the doctor-recommended 7-8 hours of sleep before a big test, it’s unlikely most students will follow this. You need at least a minimum of 3 hours of sleep as concentration levels dip significantly after that. So please, no all-nighters. Do your body a favor and give it the rest it deserves, regardless of if you feel fully prepared or not. A good night’s sleep will do you better than 2 more hours of staring at the same study guide.
Treat Yo’ Self (Create Rewards, Big and Small)
The best way to motivate anyone is a reward! Why shouldn’t you be rewarding yourself?! Studying is no joke and deserves some self-recognition and self-love. Divide these rewards in big and small rewards and write them down. Create a schedule for yourself deciding how long you will study before you get a small reward (Example: For every two hours I study, I get to check social media for 10 minutes). Set a timer or an alarm to keep yourself on track with the session and making sure you are rewarding yourself for it. After a long day or night of studying, don’t be afraid to celebrate your accomplishment with a “big” reward! Go buy some ice cream, go out to dinner with a friend, stream a TV show, etc. Any light activity that enhances your mood. This mood booster is going to keep you in a good mood while studying, overall increasing information retention. Practice some self-care and allow yourself to actually take a break, guilt-free.
Eat Some Omega-3’s
Omega-3 fatty acids are known to play a key role in our brain’s function and memory. Eating extra Omega 3’s during a big test week can prepare you to be on top of your game come exam day. You can get Omega 3’s in by eating foods such as fish, eggs, chia seeds, walnuts, berries, and other foods. Regardless, it is always essential to pack various healthy foods when studying in order to keep your energy and attention levels up. Some other good snacks include trail mix, apples, dark chocolate, veggies and hummus, grapes, etc.
Note Cards, Quizlets, Voice Memos, Oh My! (Repetition)
Repetition is vital in memorization! There are so many helpful tools out there to assist students in studying and repetition. Quizlet and other study apps may aid in memorization and are easily available when cramming last minute. Although these methods are great, studies have shown that writing by hand improves our memory retention. Try creating your own note cards by hand, or just taking out a notebook and writing down the term and definition again and again. These methods may feel monotonous, but they work! Another tip you could try is recording yourself speaking the information out loud on a voice memo. Not only will saying the information aloud aid with memorization, you can listen to the recordings in headphones while walking to class, working out, etc. You can also voice record lectures, tutor sessions, etc. and listen back to them as well. Productivity at its finest!
An easy trick when studying is to make connections between concepts or connect concepts to knowledge you already have. For example, you could take a term and make a simple acronym out of it, make a rhyme or song, or find out if it ‘sounds like’ or is relative to something you already know. These little memorization tricks can go a long way and can be unique to you!
Campus Cooks wishes everyone luck on all their Midterm Exams. Study hard but don’t forget, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you prioritize taking care of you while going through these intense study sessions. Now, go out there and crush it!