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How to Switch Up Your Studying Routine

With finals just around the corner, the routine review of stacks of notes and endless flashcards may seem daunting. Both the hours and words can start to blend together and the hopelessness sets in as the information slips in and out of your brain. It's time for a change of studying routine and habits. Here are some simple tips to get you through reading week so that you can ace your finals (or at least ace your studying game). 

Teach Yourself

As Frank Oppenheimer once said, the best way to learn is to teach. Take your knowledge of class material to a new level of understanding by trying to teach the subject to someone else. Doing this will both allow you to practice your analytical skills as well as alert you to any weaknesses in the concept you might be facing.

Work Out

A 2013 study conducted by PLoS One concluded that low-intensity exercise while studying improved information recall. So, if you’re stiff and bored during your study session, try moving around a bit. Prop your textbook on a stationary bike while you pedal gently, or maybe go into plank position while trying to memorize vocabulary.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Journal

Snack Break

‘Snack’ and ‘break’ are two of my favorite words strung together. Although the allure of Hot Cheetos dust may be tempting, snack time during finals is not only a time to take a break, but also a time to nourish your mental capacities. Eat healthy­ – avocadoes, blueberries, almonds, whole grains, yogurt, and hummus all make tasty snacks with virtually no preparation involved. And take heart – a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2009 proved that consumption of cocoa can improve cognitive functioning.

Photo courtesy of Paging Supermom

Dance Break

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to sit still for more than an hour. I have to take five-minute dance breaks to keep both my mind and body active. However, a 2003 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently proved that dancing sharpens your mind, no matter what age you are. It also dramatically reduces your risk of dementia. So, whether it be a five- or fifty-minute break, plug in some music and start dancing!

Try a New Way to Memorize 

Notecard after notecard can start to blend together in the pre-finals cram. Flashcards aren’t always the best way to get information in your head and make it stay there. Try inventing a song based on the material to your favorite tune or making a mnemonic that spells out essential facts for you. Linking the unfamiliar to the familiar is often the best way to remember and recall information.  

With this in mind, it's time to hit the books! Make yourself that snack, turn up that music or perform any ritual that gets you in your studying frame of mind. But if all else fails, just remember that this is one quarter, a few exams that won't matter in the grand scheme of life. 

Cover Photo Courtesy of Thought Catalog