5 Keys to help improve your midterm studying

Believe it or not, the Fall 2013 semester here at Regent is almost halfway finished.  Fall Break is right around the corner, and after weeks of hard work, it really couldn’t come any sooner.  However, there’s still one thing left to do—survive this next week.  And for most of us, that means midterms.

Thankfully, The Daily Runner has you covered.  We’ve compiled a list of five things that we think will make your studying a little more productive this weekend.  Put them to use, and we think you have a good chance of making it through the next few days (at least, we hope).  Be sure to let us know how they end up working for you in the comments!

Oh, and good luck!

1. Choose Your Music Wisely

According to a study featured in The New York Times, listening to music while you work not only makes you more productive, but also more persistent.  Of course, your choice of music is equally important—for example, music without vocals tends to turn out the best results.  Not sure of any good bands without a lead singer?  We’ve taken the liberty of providing you with a midterm week playlist on Spotify.  It includes ten of our favorite instrumental albums and can be streamed here.  And while you’re at it, let us know what your favorite study jams are in the comments!  Who knows, it might even end up in the playlist . . .

On the other hand though, maybe listening to music is just too distracting for you.  Are you one of those people who needs to get away from all the noise to study but can’t deal with the quiet either?  If that’s the case, be sure to check out a website called Coffitivity.  The site synthesizes the sound of an actual coffee shop, providing the perfect balance between noise and silence.  Bam!  Productivity!

2. Improve Your Memory

Having trouble memorizing things for your classes?  Here’s something to help.  While the author of this article relates most of these tactics to the business world, they are nonetheless some of the most helpful memorization tricks out there.    Before you know it, you’ll find yourself applying these not only to your schoolwork, but in your everyday life as well.

3. Brew the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Chances are you’re going to need coffee at least once or twice during the week.  Why not make it the right way?  The Atlantic has a highly detailed guide to making the perfect cup of coffee.  This is no joke either… from ratios to charts to detailed measurements, this article goes deep into the science of what makes an ideal cup o’ joe.  Check it out here.

4. Turn Down the AC

As cooler weather approaches, it might be tempting to open your window and let in that crisp, fall air while you study.  While this might sound appealing, you may want to think twice about that.  Studies show that a drop in temperature has a direct link to a drop in productivity, trust and even whether or not you’re more likely to feel lonely. 

“When temperatures were low (68 degrees, to be precise), employees committed 44% more errors and were less than half as productive as when temperatures were warm (a cozy 77 degrees).  Cold employees weren’t just uncomfortable, they were distracted. The drop in performance was costing employers 10% more per hour, per employee. Which makes sense. When our body’s temperature drops, we expend energy keeping ourselves warm, making less energy available for concentration, inspiration, and insight.”

5. Take Regular Breaks

Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique?  Basically, it’s a time management method that splits your work into twenty-five minute segments.  When each segment is done, you take a five minute break.  While this might sound counterproductive at first, it actually enables you to do way more than you would have otherwise.  Why not give it a try?  Just be careful not to get caught up in procrastinating during your breaks!

Josh Fisher

Josh Fisher

Josh Fisher is the Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Runner. He is in his third year at Regent, though it feels like it should be a lot less. He is adamantly against wasting food, has a complicated relationship with sleep, and gets butterflies whenever he enters a bookstore. You can contact him at josh@dailyrunneronline.com.