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Studying effectively

You stare down at the jibber jabber on the paper, but your mind keeps going to the ticking of the clock. Second by second you lose the time needed to complete the exam. Even though the words ring a bell, you cannot quite recall its definition. Why? Quite possibly because you did not study efficiently, which is why I have some tips to avoid such a situation.

1. Make a plan and carry it out! 

Create a schedule by writing out when each exam is. Assign times based on which exams come first and which need the most time  for studying. Prioritize those and allocate enough time to each subject accordingly. Make sure to be realistic and work in time blocks (For example, 50 minutes of studying with 10 minutes for a break. Repeat.).

It is difficult to study effectively when you are trying to concentrate on one topic for an extended period of time. It is also important because you do not want to take time away from your sleep. You may choose to sacrifice sleep now, but if you do, your usual body functioning will suffer and will be difficult to recover quickly.

2. Take advantages of your resources.

If you still do not understand a topic or concept, Rollins’ Tutoring & Writing Center always has tutors who can help you (Although, spots fill up quickly, especially at this time in the semester.).

If they are not able to explain it to you well enough, professors are always willing to help. Do not hesitate to reach out to them. Friends can also be a great resource (if they are not encouraging you to procrastinate), because talking aloud to them can help you identify which areas of a concept you have or have not grasped. 

3. Get rid of distractions.

I think this is quite self-explanatory, but say hello to airplane mode. Nothing is more distracting than the buzz of your phone to notify you of a new Snapchat. I am sure a few hours away from these devices will not be the end of the world, at least for now.

4. Fuel the brain, stay hydrated, and keep active.

As a health enthusiast, I cannot begin to explain how important it is to take care of your mental and physical state in such a stressful time. Try incorporating foods that boost focus and memory.

For example, wild salmon (for EPA and DHA), nuts and seeds (for Vitamin E), beans (to stabilize blood sugar levels and act as prebiotic fiber), eggs (for choline), and, most importantly, dark chocolate (for its antioxidant properties and enjoyment).

Oh, and do not forget to drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated! As important as it is to nourish and hydrate the body, incorporating some form of movement (such as going to gym, taking a walk, doing some yoga)  is also vital. This will help release any tension or stress that exams are causing you.

5. Give yourself something to look forward to.

Motivation can be high and low, just like a rollercoaster, so to keep it consistent for the next few days, plan something for after exams that will push you to study. Having a reward (such as a massage, in my case) will give you that extra incentive to keep going until you have reached the end point. If you think about it, one reward is also the start of Winter Break!

This list is not meant to overwhelm you with how you should be preparing for exams. Instead, this is a guide you should utilize by taking the parts that work best for you and applying them to better your studying habits.

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