The warm, sunny, weather is finally here, but for high school students citywide, this is as much of a curse as it is a blessing.
With summer fast approaching, the pressures of exam time are starting to weigh heavily on the already pre-occupied teenagers. For many reasons, this could not be a more frustrating and difficult time for students.
First of all, throughout the year when a bad grade appears, it is, for the most part, shrugged off with a comment of disregard.
Now, however, a scary realization has hit that time is of the essence and any low marks at this point in time can be a concern.
With only a month left of school, tensions are running high and it’s hard to focus on studying, but there are many helpful strategies to keep in mind:
• Studies show that your brain can only focus on something for so long, before you begin to lose interest, so study in chunks of 20 to 50 minutes and then take a five- to 10-minute break. During your break try to do something active, this will get your blood flowing and make you more alert. The most important thing to keep in mind with this strategy is to not get distracted during your break.
• Studying can be dreadfully boring, so avoid some of this agonizing disinterest and consider studying with some good friends. As long as you stay focused, this technique can be fun as well as extremely effective, which is a rare combination when it comes to studying. Take turns quizzing each other and discussing creative ways to remember the information. Sometimes, simply being able to recite the facts out loud with the help of some other people is the best way to learn the material.
• One thing that is important when studying is to ensure that you have a good, comfortable spot to study. This spot can be anywhere: your bedroom, under your favourite tree, or even a local coffee shop. When picking a spot, be sure that it is somewhere comfortable, relaxing and free of distractions.
• A classic study strategy is to make flash cards. This has to be one of the simplest methods and although it is common it has been proven to work in many cases. The technique helps in two ways. First, while making up the flash cards you are able to review, rephrase and make sense of all of your notes. Second, flash cards will help to test yourself.
• Sleep. Any high school student would tell you that, as a teenager, one thing that never seems to fit on the schedule is a sufficient amount of sleep. Teenagers are supposed to get 8 1/2 to 9 1/4 hours of sleep a night. According to a study done by Dr. Mary A. Carskadon of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, adolescents typically receive closer to seven hours of sleep on a good day. Although it is hard to fit in, sleep is extremely important, especially when it comes to getting good grades.
Those are only a few of an endless number of valuable study strategies. The most important thing to do is to remain focused and stay positive. Not every technique will work for everyone, so keep your head up and keep trying.
As long as you tried your best everything will work out in the end, so try not to stress about it too much.
Remember, after exams comes summer vacation!
» Rikki Bergen is a Grade 9 student at Neelin High School.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 22, 2012