Finals week drives every student to the brink of insanity — all nighters filled with breakfast burritos, donuts, laughs, melodramatic crying sessions, piles of books, and lattes with extra shots. How does one stay sane through all the chaos? Is success even attainable? Plan ahead and reduce your already high stress level with a few changes. Here are 10 tips for optimal performance during finals week.
1. Don't skip meals
It's shocking to hear how many people on my campus alone say, "Oh, I haven't eaten all day and it's dinner already," or "I never eat breakfast." Health and Wellness Digest states that the body defends itself from starvation when someone skips a meal. In turn, their body stores more fat and also slows its metabolism. Better Choices states that skipping meals also leads to excessive snacking, increases stress, and lowers blood sugar.
2. Rotate between courses
Have you ever read through a chapter of a textbook and realized you didn't retain anything? It's most likely because you spent too much time working on that course. Start on another assignment for a bit, then come back to the first assignment you worked on. Doing this allows for a new perspective and prevents mental fatigue. Switch up the types of assignments as well. For example, work on a paper for an hour, then study for a half hour.
3. Space out your studying
According the to American Psychological Association, long term memory improves when people space out their study sessions over time. Studying something multiple times helps students recall the information and help reinforce the material. It also prevents people from becoming bogged down after studying too long.
4. Spend time with friends
The week before finals and finals week are the last moments students can spend time with friends. Make the most of these last days and catch up with people you haven't seen all semester. Complete something on your bucket list, such as venturing to a famous food place like Sidecar Donuts. Take a weekend beach trip or go see a flick at the theater. If nothing else, grab a meal and catch up with each other.
It's easy to slip into that appealing trap where you think you can function off of only four hours of sleep. However, your body needs If nothing else, at least get a few hours of sleep. Pulling an all nighter will only sabotage your final grades. Lack of sleep makes it difficult to concentrate and think clearly. Do yourself a favor and sleep before your exams. Those extra couple study hours most likely won't amount to anything, so rest remains the better option.
6. Put the phone away
It's time to say no to electronics. Study sessions without distractions produce the best results. Distracted studying can leave you frustrated and require more time later. Have the best of both worlds — study first, then reward yourself and text your friends. If you need to use your phone for educational apps, disable any distracting apps like Facebook.
7. Grab some healthy snacks
Sugar tastes great, but your body will shortly crave healthier food. Junk food only packs on the pounds if you're already counting calories. It also results in an energy crash. Great brain foods include nuts, apples, yogurt, blueberries, curry, salmon, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, bone broth, dark chocolate, dark leafy greens, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
8. Don't leave everything for the night before
Only choose this option if you have a busy weekend and must study for every test on one day. Leaving everything until the day before can increase stress and make it difficult to retain information for each subject. Spreading out study sessions throughout the week, however, allows more time for each subject. In addition, you won't have to stay up late and can wake up refreshed for the test.