Study Made Simple: Katy Ho

As the finals season approaches, we've all got studying on our minds. Treat yourself to a stress-free month by following these tips to battle exam season!

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

When we study, distractions become a million times more appealing because they offer an instant gratification that are easily accessible to us. We need to make them more difficult to reach so that they are less appealing to us.

  • Plug in your phone on the other side of the room with the screen facing down.

  • If you must use your electronics to study, use a social media blocking app like Cold Turkey to create a barrier between you and the distraction that is social media.

Clean Up Your Act

Our brains are tuned to work differently in different environments, so it is important that we create the right study setting.

  • First, ensure that you have the right lighting. Our brains are tuned to fall asleep in the darkness, so to stay alert, keep your study environment bright.

  • Second, keep clean. A cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind, but conversely, cleaning can help you clear your mind. Clean first thing in the morning to eliminate the distraction of a messy desk while giving yourself a sense of accomplishment, encouraging the brain to continue completing tasks.

  • Read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up to learn more about how decluttering can change your life.

Brain Fuel

Your brain absolutely needs food to power your studying! What you feed your brain will affect your energy levels, memory retention, and ability to focus. Opt for healthy, brain-boosting foods that are also great for your body as a whole. Next time you’re craving a snack, keep a stash of these healthy options by your side:

  • Whole grains instead of white flour provide energy

  • Oily fish rich in Omega-3 improve brain cell development and boost mood and memory

  • Blueberries improve memory

  • Green leafy vegetables boost brain power

  • Nuts prevent cognitive decline

  • Vitamins feed the brain nutrients

  • Avocados and dark chocolate (at least 70%) provide study benefits as well

A word of caution: stay away from added sugars, as these are proven to decrease memory retention!


Many students neglect physical activity in favour of studying, but this is a huge mistake! Physical activity energizes the brain, improving mental energy and mood to stimulate productivity.

  • Schedule in regular times to exercise daily, or take timed study breaks for exercise.

  • Whenever your brain feels mentally burnt out, take an exercise break instead of a nap to boost mental energy.

  • Ways to exercise:

    • Walk around campus, run down to Wreck Beach, swim at the New Aquatic Centre, go to a nearby gym, which can include residence gyms, the BirdCoop, Hot Box Yoga, or Gold’s Gym in the Village

    • ClassPass is a program that lets you try different studios at one price

    • If you really can’t get outside, try doing some YouTube workouts!

Now that you know how to create the optimal study environment and boost your mental power, it’s time to go out and slay those finals!