Applying to college tips

Grab a Coffee

Drinking coffee (or your preferred high-octane beverage) while you study may help keep you alert so you don’t doze off mid-session. There’s even evidence that caffeine can improve your memory skills. However, avoid sugary beverages. These could cause your energy level to crash in a few hours.

Reward Yourself

Studies show that giving yourself a reward for doing your work helps you enjoy the effort more. Do it right away; don’t wait until the test is over to celebrate. For example, after finishing a three-hour study session, treat yourself to an ice cream cone or a relaxing bath.

Study with Others

Working with a study group holds you accountable so it’s harder to procrastinate on your work. When you study together, you can fill in gaps in one another’s understanding, and you can quiz each other on the material. Besides, studying with a group can be fun!


It may be hard to imagine adding anything else to your packed schedule, but dedicating time to mindfulness practices can really pay off. Studies show that people who meditate may perform better on tests, and they are generally more attentive. Mindfulness apps can help you get started with this practice.

Hit the Gym

To boost the blood flow to your brain, do half an hour of cardio exercise before sitting down to study. Aerobic exercise gives your brain a major dose of oxygen and other important nutrients, which may help you think clearly, remember facts and do your best work.

Play Some Music

Listening to tunes can help you focus. Studies show that the best study music is anything that features a rhythmic beat. It’s smart to choose a style that you like. If you like classical, that’s fine, but you could also go for electronica or modern piano solos.

Grab Some Walnuts

A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps your brain do its best work. Good sources include:

  • Fish: cod liver oil, salmon and mackerel
  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Vegetables: spinach and Brussels sprouts To calm your pre-test jitters, eat a mix of omega-3 and omega-6 foods.

Take Regular Breaks

Your brain needs some downtime. Don’t try to push through for hours on end. Every hour, take a break for several minutes. Breaks are good for your mental health. They also improve your attention span, your creativity and your productivity. During a break, it’s best to move around and exercise a bit.

Get Some Sleep

Although studying is important, it can’t come at the expense of your rest. Sleep gives your brain a chance to process the information that you’ve learned that day. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll have a hard time focusing and remembering information. Even during busy test weeks, try to get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Eliminate Distractions

It’s hard to get much studying done when you’re busy scrolling Instagram. Put away your phone and computer while studying, or at least block your social media apps. Turn off the television while you work, too. If you’re studying in a noisy area, put on headphones that can help block the distracting sounds.