The end of the semester is quickly approaching and so are finals. You may find yourself pulling all-nighters or struggling to use your study time effectively. Don’t stress though because I have some useful ideas to incorporate into your study sessions to ensure you finish strong this semester.

student studying for final

The truth about all-nighters

Most students are guilty of this dangerous, caffeine induced cycle. Studies have shown how impactful losing even a couple hours of sleep can be on your working memory and overall brain efficiency so make sure you’re planning a balanced study and sleep cycle.

For maximum brain performance, people ages 18-25 should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night according to Not only does pulling an all-nighter reduce cognitive functioning, it also prevents your ability to recall all the information you’re studying.

During sleep, your brain recalls the short-term information you’ve learned throughout the day and turns it into long-term memory. Without this process, your memory is impaired says research from so instead of staying up all night, block out some time to study and then make sure you get to sleep!

Food for thought

It’s no lie that what you eat throughout the day affects how you feel. So, while preparing for finals, make sure to eat wholesome and nutritious food to keep your brain alert and focused.

Some great options include:

  • Fish- High in omega-3s for brain function and protein.
  • Fruit- Rich in vitamins and contains healthy natural sugars.
  • Caffeine- In moderation, caffeine can help give you an extra boost.
  • Dark leafy greens- Filled with vitamin K, B-6 and B-12, adding greens can improve memory.
  • Nuts- Healthy fats will keep you full and energized.

 Study tips

Sometimes it’s difficult to sit down with a textbook and retain information, but there are ways to make it easier:

  • Don’t wait until the last minute- This is the source of all-nighters. Try to space out your study time 2 weeks before an exam.
  • Study with friends- You can quiz each other, ask questions or explain ideas while still having fun!
  • Find a quiet space- In order to focus, find an area where you’ll have few distractions. Putting your phone in a different room may be ideal.
  • Take study breaks- After a while, it’s a good idea to walk around or eat a healthy snack.
  • Draw it: It can be very beneficial to see concepts in new ways, either through drawings, graphs or charts.
  • Make it a routine- Start a goal and dedicate a specific amount of time in your day to study.

To make studying for finals on campus easier, the library and Kryzsko Commons have extended hours during the week of finals for optimal studying.

All in all, it comes down to preparation. How are you preparing for your finals? Use the tools that are most effective for you and work for the grade you want. Find the motivation to push through and do your best!

For further help managing finals stress, WSU counseling services provides free, confidential services for those dealing with stress management or needing additional resources as the semester comes to a close. Visit their website or call 507-457-5330 to schedule an appointment and for more information.

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Sydney Becker

Sydney is an Exercise Science major from Buffalo, MN. Her hobbies include working out, being in nature, listening to music, learning and spending time with family and friends.

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