Exam season can be a very busy and stressful time of year. To help you get through it, IESC’s amazing blog volunteers have compiled four very important lists to help you stay focused and healthy until the end of the month.

List #1: Study Tips
1. Clean & organize your study space: A clean study space can give you a fresh start and a sense of mental clarity. Putting away distractions (phones, magazines, etc.) can also help you stay on track!
2. Avoid too much TV: You may be tempted to take a TV break, but you’ll be better off listening to music, reading a magazine or book or chatting with a friend. This is because instead of refreshing your mind, TV tends to dull your senses.
3. Take short breaks regularly: Researchers have found that 45 minutes is the optimal time study period for maximum retention of information. Try to study for 45 minutes and take a 15 minute break before continuing.
4. Use diagrams and charts: Visual representations can boost your ability to memorize and retain information: flow charts, word-maps, pictures, and mnemonics (rhymes), can be very helpful and effective for memorization.
5. Use a timer: Plan your study time carefully and don’t let distractions like phone calls, Facebook, or friends get in the way. Set a timer for as little as 15 minutes and commit to not checking your phone, email or Facebook until the timer goes off. Schedule time for coffee breaks and social gatherings, but stay focused the rest of the time.
6. Quiz your friends: Testing a classmate’s knowledge is a great way to assess your own understanding of the material. Being quizzed by others is effective as well. Explaining a concept to another person or having it explained to you in new terms can help you solidify your knowledge and memorize information much faster.
7. For more information and study tips, visit SDC’s Learning Skills Services website

List #2: Tips for Reducing Stress & Staying Healthy
1. Be active when you study: Take mini-activity breaks to get out of your seat. Things like stretching & yoga will help you relax and restore blood flow to your muscles. If you can, stand or walk while you read- this will help you stay alert and minimize discomfort from sitting too long.
2. Feed & hydrate your brain: Your brain needs healthy fuel to do its job properly. Drinking water and eating fruits, vegetables, and nuts can have a positive impact on your mood and attention.
3. Sleep well: Make your bedroom comfortable and commit to sleeping at least 6-8 hours every night. A dark, cool room is best for sleeping and a good night’s rest can reduce stress significantly.
4. Avoid last minute studying: Reviewing your notes right before you go into a test can lead to more stress and anxiety than you need. Reading something hurriedly can make you second-guess what you know or cause you to be insecure about what you don’t know. Instead, put your books away at least 2 hours before your exam – take a nap, eat, and go for walk before sitting down to write.
5. Listen to relaxing music: Listening to relaxing music can help calm your nerves and increase your focus. Research shows that instrumental or classical music is best for increasing attention span.
6. Talk to someone: If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, talking to someone about it can help. Confide in friends or make time to visit a counselor. For more information about Counseling in Canada and resources on campus, visit:
7. For more tips on reducing stress & staying healthy during exams click here.

List #3: Five Foods to Boost Your Brain Power
1. Carbohydrates: Your brain needs carbohydrates to function well. Choosing whole grain and low glycemic-index foods releases glucose slowly into the bloodstream, keeping you mentally alert throughout the day. Examples: Brown rice, Whole Grain bread or pasta, sweet potato, fruits, vegetables.
2. Oily fish & nuts: Omega-3 fats are also essential to brain function. The most effective omega-3 fats occur naturally in oily fish and nuts such as salmon or walnuts.
3. Blueberries: Blueberries help with short term memory and make a great, healthy study snack!
4. Dark Chocolate: The flavonols in chocolate improve cognitive function, mood, and memory.
5. Curry: Curry contains a chemical called curcumin which can boost memory, and stimulate neurogenesis to create new brain cells.
6. For more information about brain-healthy foods, click here.

List #4: Studying On Campus
1. D.B Weldon Library will be open 24 hours/day from April 9th-19th, 2014.
2. Taylor Library will be open 8:30am-12:00am from April 9th-April 30th.
3. Classroom Study Space is available from 7:00am- 11:00pm during the exam season. For more information click here.
4. There is a FREE late night shuttle service is being provided by the USC offering students a safe way to get home after LTC buses stop running. For more information, click here.
5. For more information and Academic and Career Wellness Resources on campus visit our i-wellness site.

We hope you have a healthy and successful exam season!
All the best from IESC 