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7 Studying Focus Techniques and Exam Preparation Tips
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College is not all fun and games. Here are 7 exam preparation tips to get you focused this school year!

Whether you’re in grad or undergrad, you’re familiar with studying your ass off, from slow and steady prep to last-minute, all-night cram sessions. And you know that sometimes, it’s tough to keep your mind on the subject matter. Try these tips the next time you need to hunker down and get to work but can’t seem to focus:

1. Eliminate distractions

Maybe you’re in a closet-sized dorm room or a not-so-quiet library, or at home trying to ignore your family. Wherever you study, it’s probably full of distractions—and smartphones don’t help.

First, you need to find a quiet place to work. Maybe the second floor of the library is quieter? If all else fails, headphones can help tune out others. And if you have a roommate or family members hanging around, politely let them know that you’re studying—you really need to focus and not be interrupted.  

Speaking of “others,” I’m sure you’re hitting the books with your phone sitting right beside you, lighting up with notifications every 2 minutes. As hard as it might be, you need to put that addictive little digital drug away, turn it off, or even download an app that blocks websites and notifications

You can’t completely shut out the outside world, but you can definitely eliminate some of the more distracting parts.   

2. A little bit of caffeine

If you’re in college, then you’re undoubtedly familiar with the almighty coffee bean. But if you rely on its powers too much by drinking 2 pots a day, it can become less effective and even harmful

Studies have shown that drinking up to about 4 cups of coffee a day is safe. And drinking it before lunch will last you throughout the day, since caffeine may keep you spry for 7-9 hours after consumption. Caffeine helps you stay alert and focused. It’s also been shown to boost short-term memory—so, all hail the bean! 

Go ahead and enjoy your Starbucks while you study. Just be sure to know the limits!

3. Fuel your body

You can’t rely on coffee alone to keep you going. Take grandma’s advice on this one, and be sure to drink plenty of water and avoid skipping meals. Okay, maybe grandma never said anything about drinking water, but she was always trying to feed us!

Hunger is a huge distraction when you’re trying to focus. And while eating a pack of Twizzlers may satisfy a sweet tooth, scarfing nutritious meals will get the most out of your brain.

Food gives you energy and healthy stuff sustains concentration, while fast food delivers a quick boost in energy followed by a crash. Since staying focused is the goal, try to skip the tasty but trashy food court options or vending machine whenever possible.  

If you like to snack while studying, try munching on pumpkin seeds, nuts, fresh fruit, or raw vegetables. These snacks have been shown to give your brain a boost and help you concentrate!  

4. Sleep consistently 

Back to those all-nighters: While there will be the occasional need to pull one, they’re definitely not something you should be practicing regularly. Sleep is vital to optimal brain function, and you need your brain working at its best to achieve focus. 

If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, try these things:

  • Exercise regularly; just 10 minutes a day has been shown to improve sleep quality
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day
  • Put away electronics half an hour before bed
  • Create a good sleep environment. Many folks sleep better in cooler temps and use black-out curtains and even earplugs
  • CBD products are great for unwinding and settling your mind before bed

Adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep at night, so it’s a good idea to plan your bedtime schedule earlier if you have an early class and keep the same general routine every night, so your body gets used to it. 

5. Have SMART goals

The SMART goals technique is great for when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload. These goals are: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Figure out exactly what needs to be done right now and what you can realistically finish in the time you have. Write it down, because goals are often more attainable when you put them on paper. 

Once you have targets mapped out in a tidy list, your workload will seem much more manageable. 

6. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation are good for your health in a lot of ways, and they can enable you to become a better student. Practicing mindfulness actually helps the brain grow new connections that allow you to find different ways to handle tasks and deal with stress.

Mindfulness does take practice, but anyone can start! According to one study, even those who never meditated before saw results within just 8 weeks of beginning mindfulness steps

There are many resources online on how to practice mindfulness, and you don’t have to pay big bucks to use them! Mindful.org  and VeryWellMind.com are two good ones.  

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7. CBD tinctures 

Our last bit of advice for finding more focus when studying is trying a useful, natural assist. CBD is a plant-based product that may help calm your mind and give you the ability to focus on what’s important.

If you have issues with racing thoughts or excessive worry, they may be why you struggle to concentrate. CBD can help with both these issues by giving you a mellowed-out feeling without making you feel sluggish or foggy. 

CBD tinctures are great for both during the day while you’re hitting the books and bedtime when all you want to do is unwind. They could make you feel calm, help keep your mind from racing, and even enhance your mindfulness practices!

Quality CBD products are easy to use and easy to purchase. If you’re struggling to focus and feel your mind whirling with indecision, try these tips plus CBD—and see the difference it makes.  

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