Finals Week is right around the corner, meaning you better rest up now and mentally prepare yourself for what lies ahead. Those of us who have been through this before all have our own rituals for Finals. Some are effective, some are questionable, and others are downright creepy. A couple of years back I had a classmate who swore that if he studied for an exam with his shoes on, he would fail. One of my rituals is to try to eat healthy during finals week. I think it’s a good way to keep your brain at 100% while giving your body an extra boost to make up for the erratic sleeping habits, added stress, etc. Finals week can be a very difficult time to eat healthy because of time constraints, but don’t give up! Try some of these easy meal options and foods that boost brain function.
Easy (but still healthy) Meal Options:
- Apples and Peanut Butter
- Carrots and Ranch
- Protein Bars
Foods that Boost Brain Function:
- Salmon is high in Omega-3 fatty acids, which plays a vital role in brain function.
- Blueberries are well-known to boost brain function. Studies have shown that the berries can significantly improve learning capacity and motor skills in rats.
- Nuts like Almonds and Walnuts will help because of their Omega-3 and Vitamin E. Vitamin E helps stop the decline in cognitive development as you get older.
- Whole Grains contain fiber, Vitamin E, and Omega-3 fatty acids. They help blood flow, which is good for your entire body.
- Eggs are high in Choline, which can help improve memory functions.
- Avocados are high in fat, however it’s monounsaturated fat (aka “good” fat). “Good” fat is a major contributor of a healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow is essential to healthy brain function.
- Beans are a lesser known brain boosting food, however they are great for stabilizing glucose levels. The brain uses glucose as fuel, as you can see why this would be important. Lentils and black beans are the best in the category. Warning: do not overdo it on beans, especially if you plan on studying in a public place. Trust me.
- Dark Chocolate is actually very healthy for your brain. It contains antioxidant properties, which helps the brain deal with free radicals. Free Radicals can have damaging effects on the brain. Use dark chocolate in moderation, because it’s loaded with fat and caffeine.
Finals week, the week that students dread every semester from the time the syllabus is handed out. The week you live inside your textbooks and your viciously scrambled notes/handouts. While there isn’t much you can do about what your schedule during that week, there are a few things that you can do to help prepare yourself for this very stressful period of time when most people’s veins are full of coffee, red bull, 5 hour energy, and whatever else they need to keep their system running until that last test is handed in.
As a college student, if you haven’t pulled an all-nighter yet you are incredibly prepared, taking some easy classes, or you have no social life. Sleep deprivation is something that most college students will eventually encounter, and you will have to figure out a way to deal with it one way or another. Here are tips and suggestions for those who may not be getting their full 8 hours of sleep.
1. Sleep well 2 nights before a big exam. Studies have shown that getting decent sleep the night before an exam is not nearly as crucial as getting a good night’s sleep 2 nights before the exam. For example, if your test is on a Wednesday, make sure you sleep well on Monday night. Believe me, this is one of the best tips I’ve ever used and it helps tremendously.
2. Take study breaks. Cramming is not ideal when it comes to studying, especially for finals, but there are some times where you just don’t have a choice. If you have to cram the night before a final make sure to take study breaks to get your mind off of the subject matter. Whether it is grabbing some food, playing the new Modern Warfare 3, or going for a jog make sure to take breaks. By studying the subject matter in blocks you more likely to retain the information and be able to understand a larger volume of information than you would think you could.
3. Manage your time based on your schedule. If you’ve got your tests spread out over the week, take time to recognize which tests are the most important. This way you know which nights you will need to stay up late to focus in on that chapter that you didn’t understand. Try to plan a block of extended time that you can head to the library and study.
4. Eat healthy and consistently. The last thing you want to do when staying awake long nights is eat candy and skip meals. Try to keep and maintain a healthy diet, as your body probably needs it the most with all of the stress, anxiety, and sleep deprivation. For snacks, you should consider yogurt, whole grain cereal, trail mix, or an apple.
5. Only use energy drinks/sodas/coffee when necessary. As a rule of thumb, I will not drink anything caffeinated after 5pm, and I will not drink more than 2 energy drinks a day. Try to stick with foods and drinks that have a natural energy boost in them so that your body is not out of whack when you are ready to finally get some sleep. Eat an apple instead of drinking coffee, or head over to Jamba Juice or Smoothie King and grab a shake.
6. Foods/drinks to help enhance sleep. When you are finally ready to go to bed, there are some foods/drinks that will naturally help you get in the mood to rest well and be ready to take on any exam. I know it may sound a little strange, but try eating breakfast foods right before you head to bed. Grab a banana, drink a large glass of milk, eggs, oatmeal, hummus and bread, turkey, etc. These foods contain certain amino acids that help produce melatonin, and also ones that have tryptophan in them. These are very helpful when trying to get some rest.
7. Exercise regularly. Since you are depriving yourself of sleep there are some repercussions that will affect the way you go about your day. By exercising, you will help your body stay well-oiled and fully functional. The last thing you want is to get sick during your finals.
I’m reading Economics: Principles, Problems, and Policies
Yet again the year is winding down for many college students. Some of the most dreaded school days come at the end of each semester, FINAL EXAMS. Below are some things to keep in mind and tips to try when studying!
-Keep away from Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.
-Try using flashcards- many students find the use of flashcards extremely helpful and easy to challenge yourself on knowing the material.
-Know when to say no- if you NEED to study, don’t let the invite to get dinner with your friends override your decision to study!
-Try to study at a desk or table, not your bed or the couch
-Remain calm, no need to freak out, it’s just a test
-Keep your goals in mind
-Try making a studying checklist
-Problems staying awake?- If you have the ability to change the temperature in your room, house, etc. lower the temperature. The cooler air has been known to keep you awake rather than warmer air.
-Don’t forget to eat properly
-If you are given an outline you should USE IT!
-Don’t lose your motivation!
-Try studying with a friend! However, REMEMBER THAT STUDYING IS YOUR MAIN GOAL!
If you have any tips for your fellow student share them in the comment box!! I hope these help all of you!
I’m reading GO! with Microsoft Office 2010