By Hope Su
As the fall semester comes to a close, many students dread the upcoming high school exams. People often make the mistake of putting off their studies and cramming the night before. However, scientific studies have shown that students will be more prepared by sleeping earlier, staying hydrated and well-nourished, and taking frequent breaks.
Get enough sleep
Contrary to the common myth that cramming helps, cramming the night before will actually result in little to no information being retained in the brain. Without sleep, you will be too tired during the test that you will not be able to do your best. Sleeping, on the other hand, allows your brain to process what you learned throughout the day. Instead of trying to learn new material at the last minute, plan ahead and study in smaller chunks to better digest the material.
While it may be tempting to drink coffee or sugary drinks to energize your body, it is best to avoid consuming too much caffeine, because it will cause your body to crash. Unlike coffee and sugary energy drinks, which both contain excessive amounts of caffeine, tea is a great healthy alternative to help release stress during finals week. In particular, green tea provides nourishing antioxidants that purifies the body of toxins, ultimately creating a calming effect. It is important to drink lots of water and eat plenty of protein or other foods rich in nutrients to give you energy. Food items high in calories are not necessarily a healthy option.
Most people enjoy listening to music while they study; to avoid distractions, it is best to listen to music without lyrics, such as: instrumental covers of songs, video game music with no lyrics, and classical music. Songs that are upbeat with faster tempos will also help you stay awake.
Lastly, it is important to avoid staring at your notes for five hours. Walking around the house, taking breaks to do another activity, and just finding other ways to study (other than reading and doing problems) is essential to success. Your brain can only function effectively in chunks. If you are extremely bored or uninterested in the information, you are more likely to forget all the information you crammed into your head anyway. So, break up your studying into smaller chunks of time.
Find your own style
Studying for finals is a task every high school student must face but only a few students manage to study both efficiently and effectively. It is extremely important that you become aware of your personal learning style, strengths and weaknesses. In order to recall information on the day of the exam, the information has to be meaningful to you in some way. Whether that be because of an interesting video about a specific topic or completed practice problems, a student can have complete control over how they perform during finals week if they simply put in the effort to improve from their mistakes instead of dwelling on them.