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How to Prepare for Finals Like a Pro

We all know that finals season can drain the life out of us, and by the end, we’re practically walking zombies who just want to take a nap. I’m not promising that these tips and tricks will prevent this, because let’s be honest, it’s unavoidable, but I think following at least a few of these tips might make the zombie haze just a little more enjoyable.

1.Snack Arsenal

The most important part of having a snack arsenal at the ready is to have healthy snacks that’ll boost your energy. Sweets and treats are okay, but only in moderation! I’d recommend making “nice cream” (blending frozen bananas until they reach a soft-serve consistency) with chopped almonds and some dark chocolate chips to satisfy your sweet tooth as well as wake you up and keep you feeling fuller longer. Some other great snacks include pita chips or vegetable sticks and hummus, fruit or protein smoothies, dark chocolate with peanut butter, popcorn, and crackers and cottage cheese. Basically, look for snacks that aren’t super processed, are easy to pick at while studying, and have a nice balance between carbohydrates, fats, and protein, as well as additional vitamins.

2. Playlist Everything

Give every class its own playlist, whether it be a classical, calm playlist, soft jazz or even hard rock. Having a set playlist or genre that you listen to while studying for separate finals will help you differentiate between the subjects while studying and help you feel like you haven’t been studying for thirteen hours straight, although you probably have been. Having separate playlists and/or genres for each class will also help you avoid listening to the same songs over and over again.

3. Break Break Break

To break up the monotony of studying and working on projects, set up a break system. If you finish a paper, give yourself an hour to relax. If you completely understand an entire section of the course, give yourself a break. Breaks are necessary when studying for longer periods of time. Utilize your break to get some rest, to do something you enjoy, to make a meal or a snack (you didn’t forget to eat lunch, did you?) or even just to talk to some friends. Without breaks, your nonstop studying is going to wear you out so much faster.

4. Declutter your Workspace

Find a spot in your dorm/apartment/house that you feel comfortable in, but where you also know you can concentrate and not be bothered by other people. If this area is messy, clean it now! A messy work space isn’t going to do you any favors when you’re trying to concentrate on hour seven of a paper you put off until the last minute. Looking at a clean workspace will help to focus your mind on the tasks at hand. Even taking the time to clean the workspace and declutter will help get you into the mindset to tackle even your toughest final.

5. Get Some Zzzzzs

You need to sleep. You can pull an all-nighter, but are you going to be at peak performance for your final the next day? Not at all. You probably won’t be getting a healthy eight hours, but even four hours is better than nothing. If you find you can’t set away time at night to go to bed, take smaller naps throughout the day between studying sessions to help your body recover and get some of the rest you’re craving. You can only drink so much coffee to try to make up for your lack of sleep. Nothing beats the real thing!

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