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  • Barijana Caldas

10 tips to stay focused during exams

Midterms are here and finals are soon after. These tests call for one thing: stress, stress and more stress.

Here are 10 tips that will keep you feeling healthy, productive and a little less stressed.

1. Get some sleep

I know this might sound completely crazy, but yes sleeping does help. Studies show that getting a good amount of sleep before an exam can improve your grade drastically, and that cramming for an exam is the least productive way to study. On top of this, it helps you feel refreshed and ready for the next day. The less sleep you get, the more likely you are to suffer from depression, obesity and diabetes.

2. Do Yoga or meditate

Both yoga and meditating is good for your health and soul in all aspects of your life. Meditating for instance is a good way to take a break from staring at your laptop for three hours. Finding soothing music and focusing on your breathing clears your mind and will help you focus when you return to studying.

3. Stay hydrated and eat healthy

This is important no matter what time of year it is. But specifically, during exams staying hydrating and eating healthy could keep you from feeling low. Eating some fruit or granola will keep your body and your brain feeling awake.

4. Avoid energy boosters

Avoid Five-Hour Energy shots, monster energy drinks, or Starbucks energy shots. Although these might feel like they are working, they only work for a little while. They bring your body up then let you crash. Try to find alternatives to unnatural energy boosters. Orange juice, for example, is a natural booster that will get your brain started and help it continue working on high for your test.

5. Find time for yourself

Studying for your exams is important, but you also have to remember to take care of yourself. Taking breaks and doing stuff you love may help you relax and actually make studying more productive. Go out and take a walk, read your favorite book, watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Find something that is going to take your mind off your exams and studying.

6. Don't study for too long

Studying for long periods of time actually is counter-productive. If you study in shorter intervals over a longer period of time you actually retain more material than you would if you are studying for longer intervals. After a while our brains can turn to mush and we stop understanding what we are reading..

7. Exercise

Taking short exercising breaks allows you to not only take a break from the cram, but also allows you to socialize and de-stress. Go for a jog, take a bike ride, go to your gym and run on the treadmill. Whatever way you choose to exercise, just remember that it helps you relax and gets your body in sync with you brain. With the extra energy you will have from exercising, you’ll be able to hit the books, refreshed and better than you were before.

8. Pick a good study sport

Studying in your bed with the TV on and your phone in your hand isn’t productive. I know it might be tempting to lay in bed and try to read that Shakespeare play that you have to write an essay on in English, but you’re probably going to do less studying that way. Find a place that is quiet and allows you to avoid easy distractions.

9. Prioritize and organize

Make sure you know what needs to be done and when it needs to be done. Make a list, physical or mental, that helps keep track of the number of tests you have, when you have them and when you plan on studying. Make sure to throw in some “me” time and make that a priority, as well.

10. Ask for help

Feeling overwhelmed during exams is natural. Don’t feel like you are the only one. Ask for help from your professors and peers. Go to study groups and have meetings with your professors about the things you feel you don’t understand enough.

We hope that these help you stay focused and ready for your next exam, be it another midterm or finals. Remember, that your health is most important and taking care of yourself will have a positive impact on the other aspects of your life, as well.

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