Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Scientifically, The Best Ways To Prepare For Final Exams

Taken from: Shaniese Alston, Big Ideas Suny.

Finals week can be a stressful time for all students–I know it is for me. So, knowing how to properly prepare for finals is the key to avoiding stress and acing every single one of your exams. Of course, all students would love to relax by receiving massages or by the healing power of dogs before finals (I sure would!).

But, we all know this isn’t really possible. There needs to be a uniform way to assess our performance as students and it has to happen at some point (hence, “finals”). So how else can we lower stress and know that we’re on the right track to excel in each course? Well, here are some proven methods that will have you focused and better prepared for final exams.

1. Say NO to cramming: Study in intervals! Studying in 20-50 minute increments and giving yourself 5-10 minutes in between is more beneficial than cramming. Distributing learning over time typically benefits long-term retention more than a short period.

2. Say YES to cardio: Science says that just 20 minutes of cardio can improve your memory. Whether you’re dancing, jogging or busting a sweat by walking, exercise will increase your energy level and reduce the effects of stress. Very important!

3. Eat superfoods/antioxidants: Everybody knows you should eat breakfast the day of a big test. Research suggests that high-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oatmeal are best (oatmeal is more fulfilling than cereal). But what you eat a week in advance matters, too. When 16 college students were tested on attention and thinking speed, then fed a five-day high-fat, low-carb diet heavy on meat, eggs, cheese and cream and tested again, their performance declined. The students who ate a balanced diet that included fruit and vegetables, however, held steady, says Cameron Holloway, a senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford. When you study, your brain consumes glucose, so take a five-minute break every hour to let your body produce more fuel for your studying. Eating a healthy snack is very beneficial and can make a significant difference (almonds, fruit, and yogurt are good choices). Read more...