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Tips and tricks for a productive dead week

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DECEMBER 03, 2014

With the semester drawing to a close and finals looming, dead week can be one of two things: a form of redemption for your prolonged weeks of slacking off or a week spent planning your New Year’s Eve trip to Las Vegas. Let’s try to make it the former. We at the Clog know how important it is to you to beast your finals and achieve a high level of academic badassery. That’s why we have come up with this list of things you can do to get the most out of your dead week.

Create study schedules … and stick to them!


A way to make sure you’ll get through all the material you need to review is to map it out! Create a plan for which lessons you’ll review, how much time they’ll take to review and how long each will take to review. Insert this plan into a Google calendar, and plan plenty of study breaks to destress!

Study in groups.


A piece of advice we were given upon starting school here at UC Berkeley was to study smart, not hard. There are simply more effective ways to study than meticulously pouring over every lecture, chapter and note you took throughout the entire semester. One of the smartest ways to study is with other people, because everyone can contribute to the material in his or her own unique way. Each group member can provide review for the subject she has the greatest grasp on. This way, you will have a compiled review of the important subject matter of the course for further individual studying later on.

Eat energy-boosting foods.


And by this, we do not mean sugar- and caffeine-laden, greasy disasters. Now, especially, is the time to go all out with superfoods! Foods high in vitamins and minerals, lean proteins and healthy fats will do wonders to boost your focus and improve your concentration. Some quick and easy options are avocado toast, quinoa salad and, of course, green smoothies! While it may be necessary to indulge in the occasional cup of coffee, try to curb the amount of sugar you add, as it can result in a crash later on.



Arguably the greatest way to increase productivity is to send a fresh rush of endorphins through your body. Plus, the flood of sunshine and fresh air will breathe a new life into our cave dwelling (residence hall room) where we flock to our computer screens like wasps to light sources. Short bursts of high-intensity exercises are not only easy and convenient but also keep us charged throughout our entire cramming process. We suggest downloading workout apps to keep your exercise efficient.

Make sure to sleep well.


No matter how many times your mom tries to drill it into your head that sleeping well will do wonders to improve your studying process, it won’t ever truly hit home until you feel the effects yourself. This dead week, make sure to not only get plenty of sleep but, especially, deep and restful sleep. There are a few great ways to do this. First, make sure you aren’t looking at a screen of any kind at least 30 minutes prior to going to bed. Next, make your bed in the morning. Your sleepy body will thank you when it gets to relax into a perfectly comfortable bed after a long day of studying. Finally, take some measures such as drinking a hot cup of decaffeinated tea to destress before settling in for the night. Also, when you notice you’re getting a little too worn out, schedule a power nap to reinvigorate your body and mind.



Even though we know that nearly every one of us is inflicted with that uncontrollable social media itch, dead week is not the time for indefinite periods of glossy-eyed scrolling. Looking at those bright screens for so long not only hurts our eyes and dulls our focus but is also a huge distraction! Try to limit your social media presence to 15 minutes a day. If you find you are really unable to control your social media impulse, there are great websites and apps that place limits on and lock your social media accounts for a set period of time. These include Track Time for Macs, and Focus Booster and Anti-Social for Macs and PCs. There will be plenty of time to Instagram, tweet and Facebook to your heart’s content after beasting those finals.

Image Sources: photosteve101Brunel UniversityBill Dickinsoneleni boulasikiOliver Quinlan under Creative Commons

Contact Sravya Singampalli at [email protected].

DECEMBER 04, 2014