One of the biggest challenges faced by all students is passing exams. Students should have their own system for maximizing their studying effectiveness and minimizing stress, but it can be difficult to find something that works. Here’s a simple, effective studying program to make sure you pass your exams with as little stress (and as much knowledge) as possible.
While this may seem like a no-brainer, students often feel they are limited to whichever time they deem is appropriate for studying. Like anything in life, you need to find what works for you and then use it. Are you more alert, analytical and curious in the morning? Then that’s when you should study. Do you feel at your most creative and inspired in the evening? Pull out those books and notes at 9 p.m. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is the right time to study.
You may have heard that you are what you eat, but did you know that you think what you eat too? The effect of particular foods on our mindset and overall well-being has been well documented, so if you’re feeling sluggish, lethargic or like your mind is in a haze, try overhauling your diet during finals.
Coffee, the backbone of any degree, has actually been proven to improve cognitive function and keep your mind alert. Omega 3 fatty acids (found in salmon, flaxseed or walnuts) can increase brain health—always a bonus when studying. So brew yourself a cup of coffee, grab a flaxseed bagel with some salmon and fuel up for your study session!
This may seem counterproductive, but taking time out can actually help improve your productivity. Research has shown that taking short breaks in between long study sessions is much more effective in retaining information and comprehension. Instead of forcing yourself to read notes or revise for 2 hours straight, take short, well-timed breaks in between.
However, don’t use your phone as a distraction. Meditate, listen to soothing music or just sit quietly for 10 minutes to allow your brain time to restart fresh for a new session.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding a routine that works for you. Some people do their best work under pressure and achieve their best results by studying right before an exam; some people find the stress of a deadline interferes with their ability to focus and study in short sessions several weeks or days before an exam. Whatever your groove, find it, use it and hone it to become the best possible student you can be.
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