Whether your university runs on semesters, trimesters, or quarters, it’s officially exam season. Planning out your schedule becomes crucial, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have three term papers due (one of which needs to be turned into the professor and not online), a research proposal pending for approval, and a multiple choice exam that is deceivingly simple. If you’re bored with your typical study habits and would like to change it up, here are some options that you can try over the next few weeks.Surprisingly, chewing gum while studying does seem to exhibit some benefits for exam takers. According to Andrew Smith in Nutritional Neuroscience, "chewing gum increases alertness, " and chewing gum "improved the accuracy of performing the Alice Heim test which confirms the benefits of gum on test performance seen in an earlier study. " In ScienceDaily, Kate Morgan from Cardiff University expands on this research, explaining that “chewing gum helps us focus on tasks that require continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time.” Studying for dense exams is a tedious task, and it’s fair to assume that this does require “continuous monitoring over a longer amount of time” since, according to Hershner and Chervin in Nature and Science of Sleep, “50% [of college students] report daytime sleepiness and 70% attain insufficient sleep.” Plenty of students are familiar with pulling all-nighters or, at the least, extended hours of studying around exam season. Though chewing gum is like pressing a band-aid on a gushing wound, the rhythm of chewing and using the same flavored gum during studying and during the exam can marginally help. A study published from Wheeling Jesuit University suggests that the smell or flavor of peppermint can improve reasoning, problem solving, and other cognitive functions, and participants who chewed peppermint or cinnamon-flavored gum had higher memory test scores. When combined with Wired’s advice of chewing gum when the questions become more difficult or when your focus begins to decrease, there is a fair chance that you can increase your concentration temporarily.When it comes to the term paper, you can write it in sections and even have it looked over by your university’s writing center if you give yourself enough time before the due date. This could mean spacing out your time over a few days or weeks, but it will prevent you from burning out and will decrease writer’s block. Coming back to your paper with a refreshed mind is always beneficial since you may come up with better conceived ideas as you keep analyzing it.
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