Strategies to help increase test scores


Photo by Melina Morales

When you take a minute to dissect college students’ daily lives, it seems absurd that they have time to stay remotely healthy. Between class, work and finals it seems near impossible to eat healthy, stay active and get the right amount of sleep. At the end of the day, it all comes down to time management, avoiding stress eating and listening to your brain when it’s about to shut off. Follow these steps, and maybe you’ll snag A’s on all of your finals.

Spice Up Your Study Spot

The 2nd floor of Memorial Library is so freshman year. Scope out Raynor for a computer. You’re less likely to go on Facebook or Buzzfeed when others can see what you’re doing. Not a library person? No problem! There are plenty of other places to get your study on. Try the Brew Bayou and get inspiration from past students with the carvings in the tables. If the Brew is too hectic for you, try Cudahy. It is the only academic building open 24/7. Take the elevator to the 3rd or 4th floor for some hidden study spot gems. Or, find your own spot. Maybe it’s a study room in a dorm (you can reserve a room in McCabe), or an off-campus coffee shop (Rochambo on Brady Street is prime). It’s always good to have a change of scenery while studying.

Fuel Your Brain

It is important to give your body the nutrients it needs to succeed. The BBC recently posted an article with eight “brainpower” foods that have been scientifically proven to heighten brain awareness. Choose whole grains over white bread. Whole grains release glucose slowly into your bloodstream, keeping your brain alert throughout the day. So instead of Cocoa Puffs, opt for Wheat Bran and have more focus at 8 p.m.! It is hard to get fresh fruit on campus, but borrow a friend’s car and load up on blueberries. Research from Tufts University has shown that blueberries prevent short term memory loss. Eat a handful at every meal and you might remember your last page of notes, or stories from last Friday night. Remember when your mom told you to eat your greens? Like usual, mom was right. Studies have shown that broccoli enhances cognitive function and improves brain power. Put some butter and lemon on them, and you won’t have to taste the healthy.

Hit the Rec

Wait, you mean it’s important to walk? On the treadmill? On an incline? It’s probably an answer that most don’t want to hear, but being active daily has proven to make your brain more alert and your body more energized. If you are new to the gym, start slow and carve out just 20 minutes of your day to sweat. By going to class in your gym clothes, you can’t avoid heading over to 16th and Wisconsin. Or, if you’d rather be fashionable to class, make a conscious effort in the morning to pack workout clothes and shoes in your backpack. That way, when you reach into your bag to grab a notebook, you’ll be reminded to exercise later. Begin by walking on the treadmill at an incline, then head to the stair stepper. If you have a friend who is a gym rat, find out their exercise schedule and go with them. It’s always nice to have someone show you the ropes (or weights). Too much homework and reading to do? That’s the beauty of the elliptical! Don’t hop off until you’re done reading a Biology chapter. If you cannot stand machines and weights, grab a friend and shoot some hoops. Or, once the weather is warmer, walk downtown to the lake or bike to class. Get active, and your brain will get active too.

Get some ZZZ’s

We all know we need 8-9 hours of sleep, but most nights this doesn’t happen due to studying, writing papers, playing FIFA, etc. According to a recent study from the University of Georgia, college students get an average of 6-6.9 hours of sleep per night. This isn’t good, Marquette! Sleep revitalizes our energy, keeps our immune systems strong and makes us more positive and productive throughout the day. Getting that extra hour of sleep makes us choose fruits instead of processed foods from the vending machine. Which, if we’ve learned anything so far, fuels our brain to produce better results. Sleep also reduces stress and anxiety. Sometimes it’s better to take a few deep breaths and a nap than to let your mind race through scribbles on a notepad. We are all educated college students and probably already know this, however, there is a difference between knowing and doing. So put down the cookies, grab an apple and take a nap! Your body will thank you, we promise.