8 Tips For Surviving Finals Season

Think finals week has to be a nightmare? Well, think again. Here are eight, great tips for making finals better than bearable.

1. Music
Music is a great way to alleviate stress and improve one's mood during finals. Plus, studies show that non-lyrical music will improve your brain's capacity to function. This is because non-lyrical music is processed by the right side of your brain while the left side of your brain processes writing. Firing up both sides of your brain causes the brain to function better as a whole. On the other hand, listening to lyrical music distracts your brain from processing schoolwork because the left side of your brain attempts to decipher both the lyrics and the course material. 8tracks has some amazing non-lyrical playlists created specifically for concentration. Check them out.

2. Friends
During finals week, your friends can be an awesome resource. Working with friends can keep you motivated and on track. Make a study schedule with your friends to avoid procrastinating by sleeping in too late or taking lunch breaks that are too lengthy.

3. Food
Eat right during finals week. While making Ramen Noodles on-the-go might seem like the path of least resistance, you need brain food more than ever during finals week. Studies show that fish, eggs and peanut butter boost concentration. In general, focus on protein rich over carbohydrate laden foods.

4. Work Out
Studies show that exercise boosts memory and cognition. Most recently, a study at Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany showed that vigorous exercise helps prime the brain to learn new information. Participants in the study retained information much more effectively if they exercised before or while studying. The take-home message: exercise is not a waste of time even when your schedule is jam packed during finals week. Rather, exercise will help you study more efficiently.

5. Study Breaks
Most experts advise studying in hour-long increments. Study for fifty minutes and then take a ten-minute break because switching gears will make you more effective as you study. Use your study breaks to get up and move. Do some jumping jacks, stretch or take a short walk around the library.

6. Natural Light
Be mindful of the physical place where you study. Researchers have shown that students who took achievement tests in classrooms with more natural lightening performed 25% better. So, choose a setting with lots of natural light because daylight improves mood, eyesight and health.

7. Deep Breaths
We all know (possibly from personal experience) that exams can induce anxiety; however, it doesn't have to be that way. Next time you feel your heart racing, take five long breaths over a one-minute period. Breathing will stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system and put your body at ease. On the other hand, anxiety stimulates your body's sympathetic nervous system, associated with the fight or flight response.

8. Stay In
College campuses are replete with distractions. Most of the time, diversions are great and college life would be a yawn without them. However, exam season is the wrong time for an adventure at the bars or frats. If you have a few days off before your next exam, use that time wisely. Get a head start on studying, catch up on sleep, spend some time relaxing outside or watching a motivational movie like Good Will Hunting or Freedom Writers.

Good luck!