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It’s that time of year again: finals time!

We know you can all relate when we say the semester has flown right by, and if you feel like you haven’t even had the chance to catch your breath before finals, you’re not alone.  It’s time for everyone on campus to start strategizing and preparing for that last hurdle before summer break.

Skip the all-nighters

If you’re already planning to stock up on coffee and energy drinks in anticipation for a couple all-nighters, know that there are much better recipes for success than caffeine, sugar, and marathon study sessions. Overloading your noggin, forgetting to take breaks, and tiring yourself out will actually compromise qualities like concentration and alertness needed to perform well on an exam. Being deprived of rest can even weaken your immune system, and we know the last thing you want is to bring down a semester’s worth of hard work because you’re too sick to sit an exam.

Caffeine can help fuel your studies, but be careful. It can also disrupt the quality of your sleep.

With this in mind, instead of being that person whose idea of a slumber party means cramming at College Library, remember that a healthy balance of effective studying and sufficient sleep is the way to go. Aim to get enough sleep because it provides clarity, restores energy, and helps you perform tasks better with a good mood throughout the day. Sleep also happens to strengthen the neural connections that form your memory, helping you recall new information better.

Study breaks

Believe it or not, this isn’t an impossible feat to achieve!  Don’t leave important studying to the last minute because let’s face it – cramming ≠ concentration. If during any of your study sessions you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall and can’t seem to focus, there are several quick-fixes you can do to rejuvenate yourself.

Set an alarm to wake you from a refreshing 10-20-minute power nap, or take an effective study break! There are plenty of things you could do, from five-minute dance breaks or yoga in the living room, to playing your favorite power-up anthem and using the duration of that song to organize your work space. Additionally, you may find that closing your books, switching your phone off, and finding a quiet space to just breathe and collect yourself can do wonders.

However you plan to tackle finals week, strategize smartly and fit in time to save some shut eye. If you have a favorite go-to study break strategy, inspire some of your fellow Badgers by tweeting @UHSMadison with #studystrong to share your ideas. Good luck!