There’s a lot more to tests than studying

Kharissa Forte

Once again, it’s that time of year when late night study sessions fueled by Taco Bell and Red Bull take over our lives. It’s finals season – the scariest week on the academic calendar next to midterms. Students all across campus find various ways to ensure they earn passing grades. Some engage in small group activities, while others find reviewing materials solo to be best. There are those who have spent a considerable amount of time going over test materials and then there are those (like me) who miraculously hit the mark by cramming (which I definitely don’t recommend). Whatever the study style, here are five key practices that every student should exercise to help achieve their finest work.

Get plenty of sleep

Even though pulling all-nighters has seemingly become a requirement for effective studying, the truth of the matter is that it’s not effective at all. Catching enough Z’s has many benefits specifically for test takers. For one, adequate sleep reduces stress. When the body is sleep deprived, blood pressure sky rockets and stress hormones are produced. Students should get a full six to eight hours to prevent this from happening. Another benefit of proper sleep is that it increases memory efficiency, which is totally helpful and much needed during test time.

Eat right

Food is energy and, actually, “energy” is the exact definition of the word “calorie.” There are good calories and bad calories or, in other words, good energy and bad energy. The type of energy students intake – especially during finals – is critical. Students should find out how many calories they need to be consuming and do their best to reach that number through eating healthy foods and drinks. Eating right also means not skipping breakfast. Oatmeal, yogurt and a piece of fruit are great starters to the day. Lastly, students need not indulge in foods with high sugar content, since it has a tendency to drain people and cause them to crash.

Remember to breathe

Sometime during the busy day, students should exercise and meditate. A quick 30-minute workout of cardio or weight lifting will help release tension and anxiety. Taking time out to meditate for just five minutes a day encourages the mind to relax and to realize that in the big scheme of life, it really is just a test.

Wash your hands

It may sound like hand washing has nothing to do with finals, but it can really make all the difference. The practice of good hand washing reduces the spread of germs which in turn reduces the chance of students getting sick. With the pressure of finals, a cold or fever is the last thing students should have to worry about. Remember to wash with warm water for 30 seconds, scrubbing underneath nails and in between fingers. Keep hands away from the body’s entry points (eyes, nose and mouth) to stop germ spread, too. It doesn’t hurt to keep a small bottle of sanitizer nearby at all times.

Associate with like-minded people

There is some truth to the saying “birds of a feather flock together.” Students should make sure their inner circle consists of a group with a good head on their shoulders and the best interest of their friends at heart. People who encourage each other to skip class, procrastinate study time, or engage in negligent behavior (smoking, drinking, promiscuity, etc.) aren’t going to do any benefit in working towards a successful future. Students should be sure the people they call friends can really live up to the title by holding each other accountable as responsible scholars.

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