6 Simple Steps That'll Make Studying Easier
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6 Simple Steps That'll Make Studying Easier

Coulda used this last semester.

So, now it's summer and you're either soaking up the sun or back in the classroom for summer semester. Whichever it is, there is never a bad time to help yourself study better. Whether you use it now or next semester, here are some tips to make you more effective.

1. Speed it up.
Whether it's a lecture, an audio book or some absurdly long video, increase the speed it's playing at and you'll immediately notice how much time you're saving. The human brain has the ability to listen (and understand) words up to 400 words per minute. Compare that to the average speaking rate of 125 WPM -- or 100 WPM if it's one of my professors -- and you could potentially finish listening to something in a third of the time. Who wouldn't want that?

2. In one ear, not out the other.
I wish I could go back in time and figure out this hack in high school -- it's that good. While you're doing the mundane little things in life like: cleaning your room, doing the dishes, running on the treadmill -- hell, even sleeping -- try turning on a recording of what you're supposed to be learning. Even if you aren't giving it your undivided attention you'll still pick up a lil something.

3. Treat yourself.
Determine what your largest tasks are -- anything from writing an essay to studying for an exam -- and then divide them into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance. If you have to write a 3,000 word paper, consider rewarding yourself after you've written the first 500 words, then the next, and the next.

Make the reward something simple that you can do easily and quickly. It could be an episode of your favorite TV show -- you can never go wrong with Friends -- your favorite sweet treat or a small nap. Just don't forget about the thing you're "treating yourself" for.

4. Chew-chew.
According to a study conducted by St. Lawrence University, chewing gum while studying could potentially improve your score. The act of chewing gum helps you wake up and give you a burst of energy when you really need it -- and when do you need it more than at 3 a.m. in the library?

Help yourself remember even more information by chewing the same gum while you study and while you're actually taking the test. Hubba Bubba here I come.

5. Find your light.
Have you ever noticed that in a class with no windows and harsh lighting you find it harder to concentrate? Well, it's no coincidence, it's science. When your body is introduced to harsh artificial lighting it becomes more stressed and it gets more difficult to focus.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you have too little lighting your body will be naturally tired and any information you put in your brain just won't stick. The best thing for you, your brain and your grades is to study someplace with loads of natural light. Trust me, it'll make a world of difference.

6. Work it out.
A good cardio workout is not only good for your heart and body, it's good for your brain too. When we exercise our bodies are flooded with serotonin and endorphins, natural chemicals that help you feel happy, energetic, and even focused.

While that's happening, our brains are getting more oxygen, which helps improve things like memory and learning. Do you need another reason to get your butt to the gym?

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College Life |  Source: twenty20.com

10 Thoughts You Have About Spring Semester Finals Week

Shout out to Netflix.

The dreaded week has unfortunately returned and it literally seems like it just left. Besides a few select words that we all could say about finals week, here are 10 thoughts we all have as spring finals week approaches.

1. Not again.

No, no, no, no, no. Honestly, I find myself pleading out loud. I don't know who I'm hoping will hear me, but maybe if I whine enough it'll just disappear. Maybe not, but here's hoping that proper wining will at least help.

2. No one should have to endure finals week twice in less than six months.

Or ever, for that matter. Whoever thought that giving four or five tests that count for a huge percentage of your grade and cover the entire semester should all be shoved into one week is not on my good list.

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3. Where's the wine?

Trying to find a balance between taking off the edge and not being too drunk to retain what you study is the real struggle (I still haven't mastered the concept).

4. I wonder what grade I need to still pass.

And if you don't calculate to find out then are you even a real college student? Even if I have an A in the class, figuring out the lowest grade I can get to pass gives me some serious peace of mind, unless I need a 100, then I'm screwed and you'll need to get me a larger bottle of wine.

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5. Five tests stand between me and summer.

Which doubles as motivation AND the reason I have none. You're so close to being done for three months, but at that point it's too difficult to focus on school.

The weather's nice and freedom (and pool days and margaritas) is just ONE week away (plus five tests, but we know you're trying to forget about that part).

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6. Can't I just marry rich?

Or win the lottery, or find a job with no college degree. At this point, you're more than done with school and dropping out crosses your mind more than once. Don't deny it, it happens to us all. Trophy wife sounds better and better every day. Even pole dancing doesn't sound too bad right about now.

7. I wonder how much coffee is too much coffee.

In addition to your wine, coffee is the only thing keeping you alive during your week-long all-nighters. Starbucks has officially been the cause of your diminished bank account, but you're too tired to even care. Helpful reminder: You can always add shots of espresso to your white mocha.

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8. I probably should've paid attention.

I should have opened a book instead of watching Netflix all semester (shout out to my headphones and the back of the classroom that wasn't in the professor's line of sight).

You don't even remember seeing half of the powerpoints and now you're wondering how you're possibly going to learn 16 weeks of material in less than a week... for five classes no less. Good luck, here's hoping Mere and Christina taught you all you need to know about anatomy.

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9. Maybe gonna take next year off.

Probs not, but you convince yourself for the entire week that you can have a year long break if you survive.

10. Gonna spend the first two weeks of summer asleep.

You haven't slept in four days and you're so tired that even sleeping sounds tiring. 14 days of sleep sounds fabulous, but we all know the best way to recover is to drink away a few hot days by the water.

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Finals week is hard af. Study hard, drink wine, survive on coffee, and stay calm. Summer 2k16 is just a few terrible tests away.

Happy studying.

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The Simple Skincare Routine Every College Student Needs to Know

It's easier than you think it is.

Let's cut right to the chase: Whether you're a girl or a guy, your skin deserves to be taken care of with just as much love and affection as you give bae. That being said, skincare doesn't have to be complicated! Here is my most simplified routine to make sure your skin is staying healthy through your wild years of partying and baking in the sun:

1. Wash your face.
I know this sounds like biggest no-brainer, but I am consistently surprised at how many of my friends don't wash their faces every morning and night. My favorite simple facial cleanser is Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleanser. It gets the job done and it's not marketed toward either gender. So guys, feel free to use it shamelessly.

If you're wearing makeup, remove it. Honestly, if you do nothing else, do this. I would actually crawl into a dark hole and never come out if it weren't for the wonders of makeup, but it needs to be removed before bed.

Sleeping in makeup can result in clogged pores, styes, and even premature aging. This is no joke, ladies. The absolute best and most efficient makeup remover I've ever used is Albolene. One tub of this stuff seriously last a whole year and it moisturizes your skin like no other makeup remover.

2. Witch Hazel is your new best friend.
You can probably tell by my Albolene recommendation that I'm old-fashioned when it comes to skincare. I'm a firm believer that classic products are classic for a reason: They work.

Though it's been around forever (148 years, to be exact), Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel was just named an InStyle Best Beauty Buy of 2015 because it is literally god's tears in a bottle. Really though, this stuff is only $4.99 for a huge 16 oz bottle and it makes my skin glow like a Kardashian.

Unlike many other toners, Dickinson's Witch Hazel doesn't dry out the skin; it just removes and balances oils, depuffs, soothes, and tones the skin like nothing else on the market. For only $4.99, you really can't afford to miss this tip. You'll thank me when your skin is glistening like Edward Cullen in the sunshine and all of your friends ask what your secret is.

3. Treat that zit.
We're in college. We're stressed about everything. We get zits. Zap them by applying an acne spot treatment to those bad boys at least once a day.

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel works best for me. It contains 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, AKA it doesn't mess around. It claims to be maximum strength, and the same medication prescribed by doctors. If you have sensitive skin, don't get too carried away with this stuff because it is so strong. It definitely does the trick in a pinch for me.

4. Moisturize & SFP.
Your skin's moisture needs to be replenished, and your skin needs to be protected. You may as well kill two birds with one stone and use a moisturizer that contains SPF, like Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturizer. It is the simplest step of your routine, and it'll help your skin look younger for longer. You just gotta do it.

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The 5 Stages of a Pre-Final Cram Session

One of those glorious college nights where you start studying when everyone else is finishing up.

You're not really sure why you took Anthropology. Your advisor lazily circled it in the culture credit section of your class sheet you received at your last appointment, and you just decided to roll with it. It was a joke class, anyway. You're also not sure of the last time you were actually in the class besides the midterms. Syllabus week, maybe? The only thing you are sure of is that your final is tomorrow, and you're just sitting down now to study for it. Here are the five stages you'll go through as your try to prepare.

Stage 1: "This'll be so easy! I've got tons of time."

Ah, yes. Famous last words.

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You sit down at your desk, prepared and almost eager to attack the subject you've completely put off until this point. It's only 8:30, that's so early! You remember all of this, all you're going to need is some light review and you'll remember everything. You've got it all planned: two hours reading the textbook, two hours reviewing the class slides, short break for a little Netflix, one hour doing the homework, and then crash for a bit. Wake up at 7 a.m. and finish reviewing. What a breeze.

You crack the first page of the book, which leads you to...

Stage 2: "Holy shit, were there always this many chapters?"

As if someone just pimp-slapped you with a copy of Darwin's Origin of Species, it suddenly hits you that there was actual substance to this study of Anthropology. As if your life was flashing before your eyes, you remember the difficulty of studying for each midterm you underestimated.

As the 150-plus pages of reading and countless vocab words loom over you, you turn and see your alarm clock with new light. 10 p.m. already?! What once seemed to show you had ages to study now made you feel like you were watching the clock from 24 as seconds loudly ticked away.

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Panicking, you reach for something you've saved just for moments like this, and find yourself suddenly in...

Stage 3: Stimulant-Induced Brilliance

Look, no one's going to make any assumptions about what you just put in your body. Let's just say it was a really good 5-Hour Energy. Either way, it's working. You're tearing through the pages, your confidence restored. You can't believe you were ever worried! You're going to know goddamn everything on this test at this rate.

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You've finished the textbook, and now you're scrolling though the PowerPoint slides almost too fast to read. Too fast for anyone except you. Advanced terms whiz by, and you're confident you've got them memorized. Australopithecus? No way you forget how to spell that by tomorrow morning. Confident, you turn once again to your alarm clock. Here comes...

Stage 4: Stimulant-Induced Crash

Whoa... It's 4:30 in the morning? How did that happen? You turn back to your computer and suddenly it seems brighter than usual, making you squint. Out of nowhere, a headache hits you. It sinks in how tired you are. You tell yourself you've covered enough, and any leftover review can be finished in the morning.

Maybe you'll move your alarm back a little though. You lie down in bed, and close your eyes. In what feels like a second, you open them up and hit...

Stage 5: Exhausted Acceptance

You turn and see the time. It's 10:30. The Exam is in about an hour. Slowly, you turn and sit up, placing your feet on the floor. You stare at the wall and sigh heavily, attempting to remember whatever it is you learned last night. A... u.... s... t... r... i? Shit. Nothing stuck.

You trudge to class, glaring with evil resentment at the people who are obviously way too prepared sitting in front with four pencils and color-coded notes. That famous line that every student has said while admitting defeat crosses through your head: "Well... I'll just do really well on my other finals."

You sit, exhausted, frustrated, and unprepared. You tell yourself you won't do this next semester. Probably.

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Library Survival Guide: Finals Edition

Hold tight, you're almost done.

The library is a wonderful place, but it can be soul-sucking, especially when you've been there for hours on end, staring at a computer screen, freaking out over finals, and contemplating your life decisions. Here's how to survive the library during finals week without going entirely insane.

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1. Have a plan. Always create a to-do list so that when you step into the library you know what needs to get done. Break big projects down into smaller tasks. Instead of saying "life-altering final project", write down steps: 1) stare at screen, 2) write outline, 3) cry, 4) write first paragraph, 5) waste time on YouTube, 6) panic, 7) furiously write five pages, 8) cry, etc.

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2. Know your priorities. The essay that is due on Monday is probably more important than the project that's due in two weeks. While the project may be the best thing on earth because its about the red panda, try to focus on the essay.

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3. Set a time frame. Don't spend an entire day in the library with very little human interaction. Trust me, you will go insane. And you don't want to be that person who comes home, sits on the floor of your room, and mumbles to yourself. You will freak out your roommates. Instead, set aside 2-3 hours to focus 100 percent on your work. When that time is up, get out of there!

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3. Have a good playlist. Whether you use it to block out the people around you or just create a calming environment in your head. Take a cue from Star-Lord, and use whatever works for you whether it's instrumental, classical, or rap.

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4. Know when you need to take a break. Like I said before, too much time in the library can make you go crazy and freak out your roommate. To keep that from happening, make sure to take breaks when you feel yourself over-stressing or getting overwhelmed. Take the time in the middle of a study session to get up, stretch your legs, eat some dinner, and come back to homework refreshed.

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5. Bring food and drink. Always have something with you to stay hydrated and energized. Flavored waters and trail mixes usually do the trick.

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College Life | 

Make Your Procrastination Work for You

Use this simple trick to break the procrastination habit.

I'm a master procrastinator--and I know a lot of my friends are just like me. In college, I would just barely make a deadline, and would always say to myself, "Next time, I'm starting early and doing it right." Yeah, right.

It never failed: I'd spend most of my time avoiding the work and then in the 11th hour, I'd kick into overdrive and get everything done, finishing at the last minute. But I wouldn't have time to check or edit my papers, making it obvious it wasn't my best work.

Does this sound familiar? Well, it's pretty common to procrastinate. And it's not just because of laziness--it's because procrastinators function differently. We like to work. We enjoy putting the effort in. But we need the urgency that comes with a looming deadline.

I tried a bunch of things to change how I work, based on studies and research and a some other fancy stuff like that. But they didn't work. Because I couldn't just change who I was and how I did things. Then one of my friends told me that he also used to struggle with procrastination, until he discovered the best way to put his procrastination to work for him, using one simple trick.

Here it is: Set earlier personal deadlines. That's right, don't try to change your workflow or your mental chemistry. Accept it and use it to your advantage. Need to feel the deadline breathing down your neck? Perfect. Create your own deadlines well in advance of the real deadline. Put them in your calendar, write them down on Post-Its and stick them to your laptop. But make sure it's not just a toothless deadline, give them some strength. Make them public, tell others--or my favorite, treat yourself if you make it. That way you'll start thinking of them as real deadlines. And, worse case scenario, if you end up missing your personal deadline, you'll still have some time to finish before the real one comes, especially since (hopefully) you've already started your work.

This trick helped me tremendously during my junior and senior year, and should help you, too--unless you decided to put off reading this article until right before you deadline. If so, you'll just have to promise yourself you'll start early and do it right next time.