Studying for finals is one of the scariest times of the semester.

Or maybe not? Finals week is right around the corner and some new study habits could help mitigate the stress. Most students will be spending hours in a dark, quiet room or living in the library pretty soon. This way of studying turns out to be time consuming and ineffective. There are many surprising study hacks that may be better alternatives.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum can increase awareness while studying and test taking. Choose a specific flavor of gum to chew while studying and again while taking a test to help your brain recall the information.

Exercise before studying

Go for a walk, swim, or lift weights before you study. Any type of intense physical activity increases blood flow to the brain. Research shows that this will improve concentration and learning. It can also improve energy and mood.

The Pomodoro Technique

This method is meant to improve time management while studying. It involves working for 25 minute intervals with breaks of 5 minutes in between. This process is supposed to help avoid distractions while studying and increase efficiency. 


This idea is similar to the gum hack. Scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. Spray a very specific scent while studying and again before the test for a memory boost.

Use fonts that are difficult to read

Typing in a font that is difficult to read means that you must really pay attention to the notes and focus on what you are reading. This can help recall during the exam.

Read out loud

Studies show that reading notes out loud instead of in your head helps move words into long term memory.

Replicate the exam environment

It is easier to remember information if it is learned in a similar environment to where it will need to be recalled. Studying in the classroom can give a boost to memory during the exam.

Drink water during the exam

Staying hydrated before an exam will help you think more clearly and stay focused. Bringing a bottle of water to the testing room can also help alleviate nerves and anxiety.

Caffeine Nap

Drink a caffeinated beverage right before a nap for a midday energy boost. Your body will wake up naturally after about 15 minutes due to the caffeine. This technique increases energy more than a standard nap or cup of coffee.

Listening to music

Studying in a quiet environment can cause boredom and leave you unfocused. Music is an essential study tool for many people because it can elevate your mood and motivate you to study longer. Listening to instrumental music, like a movie soundtrack, is one of the best options.

Use Acronyms

Mnemonic devices have helped students remember lists and processes since elementary school. Creating an acronym that tells a relatable story to you will make it much easier to remember new information.

Use colored markers or pens

Color code the information while note-taking. Color has been shown to be very important in triggering increased attention and memory performance.

Study right before bed

Memory recall call is strongest when new information is followed by sleep. Plus, an adequate amount of sleep gives more energy and focus.

Study in a bright room or outside

Light helps the brain focus and improves visual clarity. Soft, natural light that is still bright is the best for productivity. Dim lighting affects focus and can lead to getting off task.

Reward yourself

Studying can be a long grueling process. Give yourself a reward like a piece of candy after every page or section. The human brain performs better on a reward based system. Dark chocolate has been shown to have many benefits including improving cognitive function.