Prepping for Exams the Scientific Way
Examinations are a stressful time for students, so knowing how to best manage your stress and make sure you are ready for those exams can make a key difference. Here are some scientifically- proven methods to help you prepare for exams and ace your finals!
Say NO to Cramming
Cramming causes anxiety, which lowers your ability to retain information. By creating a balanced study plan and schedule, you will be able to study each subject in its entirety and ultimately boost your test performance. Study in intervals! Studying in 20-50 minute increments and giving yourself 5-10 minutes in between is more beneficial than cramming.
Distributing learning over time typically benefits long-term retention more than a short period cramming session.
Say YES to Cardio
Science shows that just 20 minutes of cardio can improve your memory. Whether you’re dancing, jogging or busting a sweat by walking, exercise will in- crease your energy level and reduce the effects of stress. Very important!
Say YES to Superfoods
Everybody knows you should eat breakfast the day of a big test. Research suggests that high-carb, high-fiber, slow-digesting foods like oatmeal are best. But what you eat a week in advance matters, too.
When 16 college students were tested on attention and thinking speed, then fed a five-day high-fat, low- carb diet heavy on meat, eggs, cheese and cream and tested again, their performance declined.
The students who ate a balanced diet that included fruit and vegetables, however, held steady, says Cameron Holloway, a senior clinical researcher at the University of Oxford.
When you study, your brain consumes glucose, so, take a five-minute break every hour to let your body produce more fuel for your studying.
Say YES to Alternating Study Spots
Shake up your finals routine! Spending all night in the library can be draining. In an experiment, psychologists found that college students who studied a list of 40 vocabulary words in two different rooms did far better on a test than students who studied the words twice, in the same room. Why? Supposedly, the brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time.
Try alternating your study spots between the library, your dorm, and a study room.
Say NO to the All-Nighter
I’ve seen you on FB posting selfies at 2AM the morning of the exam telling everyone how hard you’re studying! Then I’ve seen your grades that afternoon. It doesn’t work. A 2008 study by Pamela Thatcher, Professor of Psychology at St. Lawrence University, showed all-nighters impair reasoning and memory for as long as four days. As a result, you will receive lower grades.
So, get a good night’s sleep and expect to per- form better on tests. (Quick tip: Review the toughest material right before going to bed the night before the test. It makes it easier to re- call the material later!)
Say NO to Distractions
Remember me seeing you on FB at 2AM the morning of the exam posting selfies? The same goes for distractions like texting, watching Korean soap operas, listing to music, and taking pictures. These are all distractions that impair the ability of your brain to retain the information you are learning – especially if you are tired and not eating the right foods.
This is a formula for failure if you follow it. If you must listen to music, consider instrumental music, such as classical, which has been shown to boost memory and recall.
Dreaming of Being a Physician?
Widely considered the most respected profession in the world, becoming a physician is a dream of many.
But dreaming alone won’t make it happen. You need a partner who can help you live your dream. UHSA can be that partner! We are the second oldest medical school in the Caribbean, having produced amazing physicians who are serving in every corner of the globe, since 1982! We know how to take you from just having a dream, to living your dream.
If you need additional coursework before entering the MD program, then our accelerated premedical program has you covered!
If you’re ready to go straight into medical school, then our direct entry MD program is for you!
If you are already attending a medical school, and are not satisfied with the quality of education, or the types of rotations they offer, then we may be able to take you as a transfer student.
Or, if you have a dream of working in global health, or just enhancing your credentials for the match, then our combined MD/MPH program was designed for you.
No matter your needs, UHSA can help you live your dream! Contact our Admissions Team to learn more.