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Five Study Hacks for Exams Week

Coming into college, I wasn’t sure how to handle all of the work I had to do. When it came time for exams fall quarter, I was a bit overwhelmed with how to handle all the papers and studying. Although I’m not a professional, I have developed some study habits that have increased my productivity and given me better results.

1) Set incentives for yourself


Everyone tends to work best when they know they’ll receive some type of prize at the end of a hardcore study session, so give yourself incentives. Tell yourself “If I do _______, I will give myself________.” It’s all about rewarding yourself for your hard work. Whether it’s a 10-minute Instagram break reward for writing a paper or a bag of Skittles for doing an Econ problem set, setting small incentives will help you work faster and be more productive!


2) Take power naps

Sometimes we can be so tired that coffee can’t even wake us up. This is when power naps come to play. The National Sleep Foundation sites 20-30 minute naps are best to take to increase alertness and boost energy. Plus, if you’re falling asleep as you’re studying, you won’t remember what you just read. So instead close the book, take a quick nap and begin reading again after you wake up.


3) Get away from distractions

When I really cannot focus at all, I have to place my phone at the opposite side of my room so that I don’t have the temptation to look at it. If I know I’ll be studying in the library, then I’ll leave it in my room. Get away from the easy accessibility that your phone provides and set it away when you study. Facebook and Instagram are only there to distract you and how many people can successfully write an A+ paper after they just stalked their ex’s Facebook page anyway?


4) No one can multitask, so focus on one thing at a time

It’s hard to write a well-written paper and study for statistics at the same time. You can be more productive and get better results if you just focus on one thing at a time. If you’re in a time crunch, give yourself a certain amount of time to work on the first thing and then on the second thing (i.e. work on your essay for a few hours and then study for stats after, but don’t mix both of those things together). Focusing on one thing at a time will also help you be better organized.


5) Eat healthy meals

A brain can’t function on just Cheetos and ramen, so make sure you’re getting your daily dose of vegetables, fruits and protein. Additionally, it’s always nice to have a little snack while you’re studying to fuel your brain! Some type of nuts or fruit can be a good energy booster.

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Ana Cordera


Ana is a sophomore at Northwestern University pursuing a Journalism degree and a certificate in Integrated Marketing Communications.
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