Catherine Weiss | Staff Writer

As finals week looms around the corner, most students are finding themselves running on fumes, if not broken down and stripped for parts. You may feel like a zombie, dragging your mangled body to class while muttering something about brains. Unfortunately, many scholarships and summer plans ride on the last few hurdles before our epic freedom. I’m providing you with a few tips to make it through the next few weeks.

1.) Cardio: Just because you’re hitting the books doesn’t mean you can’t hit the gym. Studies show exercise improves the ability of the brain, primarily the hippocampus, to retrieve and store memories (http://psy2.ucsd.edu/).

This means a brisk walking break during studying not only beefs up your body but also your brain. Try taping lectures or notes and download them onto your mp3 player so you can take your study skills on the go.

2.) The “Double Tap”: Cramming the night before an exam always seems like a bad idea. After all, your professors have stressed there is probably too much material on the test to try and fit into a one-night study session. However, college has trained many of us to do our finest work at the midnight hour.

I suggest using the “Double Tap” method of studying. Go through your notes and pick out which areas you’re lacking in, hit those notes first, move on to more familiar territory and then hit the questionable content again. You’ll realize you remember more information from your first study session than you thought possible.

3.) Beware of bathrooms: The title sounds a little off, but let’s dive into the idea of bathroomology during finals. Yes, Taco Bell seems particularly appetizing at two in the morning while you’ve been studying your bum off, but how do you feel after you eat it? Try swapping out fast foods and other gastrointestinal irritations for complex carbohydrates, lean meats and veggies which have vitamins and minerals proven to be linked to increased IQ and memory synthesis, Dr. Alan C. Logan, author of “The Brain Diet” suggests.

It’s not too late to hit up the supplement aisle for omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to help brain function over time. Forgo the fast food foray and you’ll find yourself less sluggish as finals near.

17.) Don’t be a hero: If you find yourself struggling between outside work, scholarship hours, your fraternity or sorority and other responsibilities, now would be the time to speak up. As finals near, you will need to focus more on school, which might require ignoring other responsibilities.

Talk to your boss and ask for a few days off so you can score some serious study time. If you’re finishing up a group project, try knocking the rest of it out ahead of time so you aren’t slammed during finals week. Simply communicating your concerns to teachers can even get you some keen insight on how to study for the final.

18.) Limber up: Get a good eight to 10 hours of rest the night before your final exam. Wake up the next morning with plenty of time to sharpen your #2’s and get yourself together. Forgo knocking back a Redbull, which can make you jittery and nervous and stick to water or fruit juice — your brain can use the simple carbs for a boost.

Get to your classroom early enough to grab the seat that’s not in shambles and take a moment to relax. At this point I like to play epic music like “Unstoppable” by E.S. Posthumos and melt into instrumental rock, but whatever tickles your fancy would be just fine. Go into the test knowing everything will be perfectly fine and by the end of the day you’ll be your own personal hero.

It’s a mad world out there, kids. Between scrambling for scantrons and pummeling others for pencils you might find yourself comparing your world to the unorganized chaos of your own personal Zombieland. Just remember, follow these simple rules, ditch the snowballs and hitchhike your way through these last few weeks until it’s time to enjoy the little things (#32. I did it again!). Good luck. TAS