1. Cut the music
Listening to music while studying hinders the brain from full concentration. If you absolutely need a constant soundtrack, listen to instrumental pieces like classical or jazz.
2. Chew gum
Chewing gum while studying helps boost mental performance. Just make sure it’s sugar-free so you don’t get cavities!
3. Turn on the lights
Bright lights increase learning and ward off depression (which we’re all prone to during finals). Study outside if you can and definitely avoid dim study spaces.
4. Take a caffeine nap
If you find yourself requiring a midday boost, drink a caffeinated beverage right before you take a nap. It takes caffeine about 15 minutes to kick in, so your body will wake you up naturally (but set an alarm just in case). This way you won’t oversleep and you’ll be twice as alert when you wake up.
5. But don’t over-caffeinate
Yes, caffeine keeps the brain alert and receptive to new information. But over-caffeinating increases your body’s stress response (which you certainly don’t need more of), so know thy limits.
6. Take frequent, short breaks
You’ll work more efficiently if you have something to look forward to. Use the Pompodoro method: for every 25 minutes of studying, take a five minute break.
7. Vary your study locations
Changing up where you study increases information retention. So don’t become a library-zombie. Hit up a coffee shop, a common area, a park, or a friend’s place to get your study on.
8. Write things out by hand, if you can
Long form writing, while slower than typing, has been proven to boost learning. So rewrite notes, draw up flash cards, or scribble out solutions and you’ll be more likely to grasp the material.
9. Keep your study space clean and organized
Keep your desk organized and your brain will follow suit. Eliminate unnecessary clutter, like knick-knacks or dirty dishes, and only have material you need on your desk to avoid crowding your work space.
10. Eat right
Don’t fall into the junkfood trap that is finals week. Healthy eating keeps your mind sharp and your mood elevated, which is important when studying is crushing your soul.
11. Exercise regularly
Strong body, strong mind. Exercising improves brain functioning and is a great excuse to take a much needed study break.
12. Evoke your own emotions
If you can relate a strong emotion to your subject matter, you are more likely to remember it. So get mad at calculus! Fall in love with literature! The stronger the emotion, the more likely you are to remember it.
13. Drink water during your test
Students who drink water during an exam are likely to score 5% better than students who do not, according to the BBC.
Meditation increases mindfulness and eliminates off-topic thoughts. It can also lower stress, which is helpful during finals or anytime.
15. Get the right amount of sleep
Countless studies have proven that sleep deprivation ruins memory. All-nighters won’t help you if you can’t remember what you stayed up learning!