Tue, 2011-05-10 15:01
It’s finals week again, and The Horn has some fresh tips to help you conquer your exams.
When studying in the PCL has begun to depress you more than it has been able to prepare you, and your dreams are haunted by library desks and lack of outlets, it may be time to try a new study area. Here are a few suggestions.
Take a bus to:
Epoch Coffee off of North Loop Boulevard or Leralynn street. This comfortable shop with an old school Austin vibe may have the most outlets of any coffee shop in the city. Some outlets literally hang down from the walls. Free wifi is always available and the place is open 24/7. There’s good coffee available and the iced mojo will give you plenty of energy to take on that final paper. The downside, though, is that more and more people are finding out about this place which means that it can get very crowded if you don’t show up early enough.
Mozart’s Coffee Roasters off of Lake Austin Boulevard and Enfield road in the Oyster Landing shopping center and marina. The coffee quality can be gauged by the fact that the roaster where they roast their own coffee beans is right there when you walk in. There is plenty of seating both inside and out on the balcony overlooking Lake Austin. Not only is the coffee delicious but the refills are free. There’s also a large selection of tea and edible goodies including, wait for it, Amy’s ice cream. Prices are a little more expensive there but the atmosphere and quality are well worth it.
JP’s Java off of 28th and San Jacinto Boulevard. Although the place is somewhat small, the atmosphere and coffee quality make up for it. JP’s Java has an artsy college vibe to it that any UT student can appreciate and its open weekdays and Sunday’s until 1 am.
Spiderhouse off of 29th street and Fruth street cannot go without mention. This hipster haven offers a fantastic amount of seating and delicious coffee (not to mention alcoholic) beverages. Some evenings the music can get a little loud and most of the seating is outside, but during finals week rarely anything is more welcome than a 2 am closing time and a relatively short walk back to bed.
Alternate Ways to Stay Awake and Alert
If you’re trying to cut back on the jitters but aren’t sure what alternatives are out there, here’s a few suggestions that will get your mind going without doubling your heart rate.
Chai Tea and Green Tea:
This delicious drink can get you working steady with only a fraction of the caffeine that coffee has. The slight spiciness and sweetness of the drink will get you on your toes without throwing you to the ground thirty minutes later. If you want to leave the sugar out of it try setting yourself up with a steaming hot cup of green tea and ginseng. Livestrong.com suggests these to improve cognitive function and even to help with weight loss.
Stocking up on the carbs:
If you find yourself getting hungry in the middle of a cram session, reaching for a sugary snack will almost certainly have you falling asleep faster or suffering from a mini-bout of loss of concentration. Instead, try oatmeal or other high carb, whole grain snacks to keep you going. Mayo clinic pushes carbs as great long-time energy providers, and whole grain products as full of nutrients and more filling. By eating healthy, you can make sure that packing in the knowledge doesn’t mean packing on extra pounds as well.
If you find yourself losing the ability to concentrate, try a short workout.
“In a variety of different psychological and mental tests that examined everything from focus and concentration to speed of responding and decision-making, it was found that steady-paced aerobic exercise improved the brain’s ability to solve problems and make decisions fast and effectively,” said Dr. Elaine Mulcahy in an article for healthfitness.com.au. Try to limit your workout to less than an hour and try to limit it to low impact continuous motion exercises like a jog on the treadmill or elliptical session. This way you are not too fatigued afterward to get back to research and review.
Set a Schedule
Avoid having to cram by setting a schedule that allows you a few day’s time with room for breaks to study. Take each session to review a part of the material that you’ve gone over in class and make your last one a cumulative review session shortly before the test.
Good luck from The Horn!