Research-Based Ways to Live Through Finals
The finals are obviously stressful. Either you’ve got a lot to catch up with or simply prove your diligence once again – the pressure is enormous. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to struggle alone. Not only your friends and family are always ready to come to the rescue. The whole world of science works to make your life if not awesome, then at least bearable. Don’t believe it? Check out our top picks and use them to ace your exams one by one!
Preparing for final exams you may get that “groundhog day” feeling. Sitting at the same library desk on a daily basis, doodling on its dusty surface, thinking that there’s no end to all of that. Not only it’s a bit frustrating, but it also makes you less sharp at learning and remembering new things. The study has shown, that switching studying locations has a positive impact onto recognition memory. Having placed yourself into a different context, you force your brain to activate and build new, vivid associative connections. That results in better understanding and memorizing the material.
So grab that cup of coffee and go to the park to study! There’s never been better excuse for that.
There’s no need to whine: we know, you’re going to have plenty of those soon. However, forewarned is forearmed. Plus, the research has proven memory tests improve long-term retention. Making yourself go through tests of various forms makes you engage your brain to the greatest extent and think of the material you’ve got to learn from different sides. Usually, the things you struggle to remember during the preparatory tests will leave deep imprints on your brain. In addition, you’ll reduce the levels of anxiety when the actual test-day comes.
Anxiety and finals go hand in hand. No matter, either it’s pre- or post-exam, it never is a pleasant experience. There’s a remedy, that might help you loosen up and perform better as a result. That’s a progressive muscle relaxation. The process is quite simple: you’ve got to tighten your muscles group by group, and then let go. Start with the toes and move to the shoulders. You’ll feel significantly better, as your muscles will relieve pressure, they’ve been holding in for a while. Plus, you’re likely to distract from “I can’t do this” thoughts and enter the exam hall with the boost of confidence you need.
Take Deep Breaths
Aromatherapy demonstrated a beneficial effect onto the students, dealing with pre-exam anxiety. The study concentrated on the impact of lavender and rosemary, however you may feel free to experiment. What sets the perfect mood for getting the grade you need? Is it a zingy orange? Or, possibly, a cool mint? Choose the smell that makes you feel both inspired and calm. Take deep breaths and go for those great results stress-free!
C is for Cardio
Different research projects keep demonstrating that aerobic exercise is awesome for your brain. Your memory improves, you get less worried. In addition, your cognitive abilities improve: the subjects of the research have completed a certain test before and after a 20-minute bike ride. They coped with the after-ride test a lot faster, maintaining the same level of precision. And you get a leaner body, just as a bonus. Seems pretty cool, doesn’t it?
Why do you think your professors are so good at the subjects they teach? Because they repeat pretty much the same stuff over and over again! According to the study, reciting is a highly efficient memorizing tool. Why don’t you use it? Retell the material you’ve been cramming to your friends or family. If these guys don’t want to listen to you – teach a bunch of stuffed animals, for instance. (The end justifies the means, right?) The humans are a bit better here, though: they may ask questions, you’ll have to answer! This helps you look at the topic from different angles, thus, carving it onto your brain.
Build a Schedule
When it comes to preparation to finals, time-management is essential. Not just when you need to fit a little nap into your tight revision schedule, but also in terms of letting your brain have some rest between studying sessions. This way information will soak in far more effectively. Pomodoro Technique may be of a great help. You’ll divide your time into cycles of work and relaxing, lasting for 25 and 5 minutes respectively. The rhythm will keep your brain alert during the active intervals and will help you really cherish those 5 minutes of rest.
The length of periods may differ: you could also try the 50/10 principle. Intermittent manner will help you memorize things better, for longer periods of time.
The study has once again demonstrated that sleep deprivation is extremely harmful for one’s cognitive functions. You get distracted much easier, things you seem to have memorized forever just leave your head, that buzzes with serene, untouched emptiness. Thus, if you don’t want this to happen – don’t push your way through the all-nighter. Get the maximum amount of peaceful slumber the last night before the big test. Find out how to study for a test the night before so that it won’t be harmful for your health!
Sleep On It
Your brain strengthens memories in your sleep. The research has shown, that learning new information before going to bed helps you remember it much better next morning. Don’t just go over and over the stuff you’ve known already. Concentrate on new things. Make sure to leave at least an hour of a gap between studying and dozing off: bringing your textbooks and notes to bed may result in deteriorating your quiet sleep.
Well, now you know what to do. Get that lavender oil, go for a jog and then study before sleeping!
Just kidding. Use the tips you like and brace yourselves. And remember: it’s going to be just fine!
image credit: wikimedia.org