Cheat sheet - marcus

Spring is a great time for college students. It’s the start of a new year and a new semester, which means students from all over the country get a fresh start. It also means now’s the perfect time to break in new study habits; make sure you start — and finish — the semester off right. Here’s a list of five must have’s and must do’s for when you are studying that are sure to keep both you and your GPA on point.

Go cold turkey:

This semester’s must-have app, Cold Turkey, is an amazing, free program dedicated to shutting down your procrastination habits one social network at a time. After installation, users can pick websites for the app to block and control the duration of the block. The program denies access to these sites across all users and computer browsers, preventing you from trying to sneak a five-minute (or more likely 20-minute) Facebook break. Cold Turkey also has tons of other features. If you buy the pro-version, you can setup block schedules for other apps like addicting games (i.e. Trivia Crack).

Chew some gum:

It sounds simple, but it’s urban legend that chewing a certain flavor of gum while studying, then chewing that same flavor during a test, will help improve your memory of the material. This is because you associate flavor with the material, thus making it easier to recall the information. Turns out this is true — or at least partially. Studies show that the act of chewing stimulates your brain, increases your heart rate, blood pressure and cerebral blood flow, making it easier for you to process and memorize new information. However, using your muscles to chew also takes up some of that new found processing power, which is why researchers recommend chewing before studying. The positive benefits last for 15 to 20 minutes afterwards, which is just enough time to get in a good study session or to knock out a test.

Order some sushi:

Sashimi, Tempura, Unagi — the list of options is practically endless! Stocked full with omega-3 fatty acids, fish is a great study food that boosts your brainpower and concentration. Eating it before studying is a tasty way to improve both your ability to memorize new information and your woverall health. But if fish isn’t your thing, try eating some nuts, blueberries or dark chocolate instead, since all three come with the same benefits. Studying never tasted so good.

Take a walk:

As with chewing gum, walking is another way to get your blood—and your mind— pumping. Exercising increases blood flow and stimulates your mind, making you feel more refreshed and energized. Researchers recommend 15 to 20 minute workout sessions before studying or test taking in order to get your mind functioning at its highest level. Even more, the type of work-out is entirely up to you. Dancing, swimming and biking are all great options to get you started, but you can choose just about anything so long as it gets your heart rate up.

Take a break:

There’s a reason the reward system has been used for so long. Research has shown that studying in 20 to 30 minute sessions with brief, internment breaks results in higher performance than longer, “binge” sessions. Breaking information up into smaller, easy-to-manage, chunks gives your mind more time to process it, which helps you retain it better in the long run. Taking breaks also helps you keep your morale up, since every break is a reward for all your hard work.

State of mind:

In the end, the most important thing to do when studying is to stay positive. It’s easy to get stressed when there’s a big test or final on the horizon, but don’t let those negative feelings weigh you down. Instead, focus your energy on developing these healthy study habits so that at the end of the semester, you’ll have a GPA — and a state of mind — you can be proud of.

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