Halfway through the exam session, the university’s corridors are empty, and libraries are full of stressed and red-eyed students. Although everybody knows that studying is a semester-long activity, many of us still leave everything for the day before the exam. How to not only survive the exams, but also to succeed in them? Hopefully the following recommendations help.
As there are so many exams in one session, students often try to study for all of them simultaneously by constantly switching back and forth between projects. The truth is, people are actually really bad at multitasking – while we think that we are switching between the two, we are actually trying to work on both things and succeed in neither of them. The only way in this situation is to plan: make a study schedule ahead of time and figure out which days you will devote to which subjects. You will be able to process the material more efficiently than you would if your attention was split between tasks, and ultimately you will have more confidence in what you have learned.
Although research shows that those who browse through books just before sleep will remember up to 56 percent of information, studying is efficient only until you are alert. When you get tired, go to sleep. Try to avoid the classical studying-all-night format before the exam, because without good night sleep you will have difficulties to concentrate during the exam.
Studying in clean, tidy and airy environment boosts a person’s ability to perform. Besides, it is necessary to make short breaks from studying, because brain can stay in peak activity only for about half an hour. Also, breaks are good for processing information. By the way, red colour is a known activator of brain performance. Keep that in mind and decorate the room with red accessories, such as red tea cup or post-it notes.
Many a student tries to save time and switches to ready meals instead of cooking during the exam session. This is not the greatest idea as brain uses up to 25 percent of all the body energy. Long and intense studying makes us use even more energy. Therefore, it is necessary to eat well to be able to think well. Good brain food is fruit and vegetables, nuts and full grains, seeds, full grain and millet pasta, brown rice, eggs and fish. Also, when studying one must remember to drink plenty of water as shortage of water diminishes our ability to think and to concentrate. The water cannot be replaced by tea, coffee or other stimulants. In contrast, when a person does not drink enough water, caffeinated drinks will add to anxiety and stress.
Music helps in the studying process especially if the subject is boring and you feel sleepy just looking at your notes. Research shows that listening to some music can coordinate both hemispheres of brain, slow down bodily processes and have relaxing effects similar to those of meditation or hypnosis. Psychologists advise listening to classical music, but actually any music which has soothing effect is suitable. Dance music can be used in the end of studying session, to come back to reality from the book world.