Welcome to exam week.
This week, for me, a high schooler, is comparably worse every ongoing year. I am struggling now, and the foreboding picture of college exams does not sound like fun.
I’m not going to go on about how exams and standardized tests aren’t valid, as much as I agree with that, because we are in exam week right now and can’t do anything about it.
This year I decided to give up social media for exam week, along with one of my friends. Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and most of all Netflix. For me to stop watching Netflix for a week has been the most challenging. What will happen next on Gilmore Girls? Will Luke and Lorelei get together? What about Glee? Or Grey’s Anatomy? Or Parks and Rec?
The initial deleting of the apps was hard. It took a couple minutes, but eventually they were gone. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest, but then I started to worry. If something important happened while I was away, how would I know about it? I’ll admit I almost broke my pledge on that first day, but got through it.
I will admit to unlocking my phone and being surprised that the apps weren’t there. Yesterday I received an email from Facebook, telling me that I was missed and about all my notifications! It was only the fact that I was using my school computer, and that Facebook was blocked, that kept me from going to check.
I’ll admit, I’m not sure how much this has helped. I have studied a lot more, but I did get a C on my English exam, which is funny because I am trying to start a blog. This was on grammar though, and I like writing a lot better than grammar. I am not the best writer or best blogger, but I am working on it. I don’t get my other grades until January, which will be grueling, but I think I am doing pretty well. I only have two exams left, and am confident I have passed all my previous exams. So, deleting social media has helped may help me (and you) concentrate, but I think the real problem is that we use social media as an excuse for not wanting to do work. Really the problem is procrastination and laziness. I’m not saying that everyone is lazy, but social media just aids the procrastination which we induce upon ourselves.
Studying for me is something of a chore. I make flashcards, powerpoints, rewrite and reread notes, and sometimes have others quiz me. Many seem to think that studying must be done in many long sessions, being very productive, but it might not always work like that.
“For starters, long and focused study sessions may seem productive, but chances are you are spending most of your brainpower on trying to maintain your concentration for a long period of time. That doesn’t leave a lot of brain energy for learning.” (New York Times)
When you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner all at the same time, it isn’t as effective as spacing the meals out through the day. The same thing goes for studying. Taking small breaks, or studying a little bit each day, is a much better and time saving way to study than spending six hours on the information the night before the test.
“And not surprisingly, sleep is an important part of good studying. The first half of the sleep cycle helps with retaining facts; the second half is important for math skills. So a student with a foreign language test should go to bed early to get the most retention from sleep, and then review in the morning. For math students, the second half of the sleep cycle is most important — better to review before going to bed and then sleep in to let the brain process the information.” (New York Times)
I love to sleep, and just about everyone I know loves to sleep too. The one problem I have with going to sleep earlier is not being able to wake up in the morning. I am a night owl, and waking up early in the morning is torture, but it is worth a shot.
To all high school and college students, good luck on your final exams!