Finals week is that time of the year when you finally sit down to try to understand what your professors have been rambling about all semester.
Don’t lie to yourself- you have a lot of slack to make up and you need all the help you can get. Follow the advice of these 10 finals hacks and you will be procrastinating your way to success.
1) Replace Coffee With Tea
Caffeine is an essential ingredient in the recipe of finals success, but little do you know that your insatiable appetite for coffee breaks is turning you into a zombie. Caffeine works by releasing dopamine and adrenaline in the brain, causing you to feel attentive, focused, and more awake. If you consume too much of it, as is often the case during finals, you can become the patient of your own diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder and ADHD. Replace your forty cups of coffee with forty cups of tea to keep up your caffeine addiction without compromising your humanity. Plus tea has antioxidants, which will prevent you from becoming a chronic test sniffler.
2) Eat Whole Grains and Blueberries
This is a tough one for all you gluten freegans out there, but whole grains in your finals week diet is crucial for concentration and energy. Oatmeal for breakfast, whole wheat bread for lunch, and brown pasta for dinner will get your glucose levels right where they need to be for a tough week. In addition, blueberries have been proven to help short-term memory function. So if you’re doing some last minute cramming before a test, be sure to have a bag of blueberry yum-yums at your side.
3) Add Some Weights To That Cardio
If you think that finals are a good reason to stop working out, think again. A moderate workout with weights and cardio is proven to help with sleep, memory, and relaxation. You don’t know it, but you actually build blood vessels in your brain when you sweat. PC Alert So ladies- by all means throw on the yoga pants and hop on that treadmill, but add some resistance to your workout. And gentlemen- go ahead and rock your farmers tans in those high school football tank tops, but quit strolling around the weight room and hop on a treadmill.
4) Write To-Do Lists The Night Before
Stop me if this sounds familiar: you go to the library, walk around for 20 minutes trying to find a spot, finally find one and start flipping through Snapstories, get to the end and open Facebook, then decide it’s a great time for a coffee break. It is a phenomenon well equipped to ensure you get nothing done and leave the library questioning everything about your future. The best way to prevent this is to write out an outline of your day the night before. That way you can get up and get rolling, feeling organized, productive, and with a bit more hope than the average finals week college student.
5) Skim, Paraphrase, and Visualize
Reading through old notes and articles that you never opened until now is a pain, especially when your brain is already in the summer paradise of Hampton Beach. But there is a 3-step process to make reading incredibly effective: first, skim the page to pick up key words. Second, paraphrase each idea as you read so that you create your own understanding of the text. Lastly, visualize with pictures what you just read. Your brain loves to associate words and ideas with pictures, so if you have to picture Kate Upton’s SI Swimsuit spread to visualize how an increase in demand stimulates economic growth, just know that I told you to do it.
6) Procrastinate With Lumosity
If you find yourself sitting there playing iPhone games instead of studying, at least make it productive. Lumosity.com is a great way to train your brain to think faster, improve your memory, and stimulate some neurons while having fun doing it. The games on Lumosity are akin Flappy Bird and 2048, but the best part is that you are doing your procrastinating self a favor. Not to mention you compete with others in your age group for the highest BMI (Brain Performance Index), so give it a go and see how well your brain comprehends life.
7) Take The Right Breaks
Take breaks! I repeat, take breaks! Just because there is a lot on your plate does not mean that taking breaks is not an option. In fact, taking breaks increases your productivity and releases endorphins, making you feel happy. But here’s the catch- make your breaks count by only taking them when you’ve crossed something off your list or powered through a productive time interval. Follow the Pomodoro technique of breaking for five every 25 minutes or The Atlantic’s recommendation of 17 minutes for every 52 of work. Intervals, checklists, and disciplined breaks are the best way to make you happier and more productive.
8) Lead The Group Study Session
Joining a group study session can be a great use of time…if you are the one teaching everyone. Sitting around listening to others talk and explain things is what you’ve done all year without learning a thing, so why pick up the same practice at crunch time? Try leading the group and teaching your friends; teaching people reinforces your understanding of subjects and makes you put concepts into your own words. This is great for essay tests, short answer problems, and boosting confidence.
9) Turn Up The Lights
Sweet vibes bro, amirite? Well, not so sweet if it’s a dark room and full of fluorescent lighting. Studying with your psychedelic-stoner friends is not the best idea during finals because dim lighting puts your brain to sleep. Working somewhere with brighter lighting heightens your emotional responses, helpful for memory recall, and makes you more alert. Dim lighting lowers your cortisol levels and stresses you out, so get smart about where and with whom you study.
10) Chew Gum Before And During Tests
Like OMG can I get a piece of gum? We’ve all heard it, but the annoying truth is that that person is doing it right. Chewing gum while you work, either while studying or taking a test, is great for your working memory and function. The act of chewing increases blood pressure and heart rate, sending more blood up to your noggin and boosting your capacity to remember things. So hit up a quick mart, or the person smacking lips to your right, and start blowing some bubbles.
Tell me what you think in the comments below!