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High School Students: Stop Cramming!

High school students, especially juniors and seniors, face stress that they have never before experienced: hours of written assignments, a bevy of extracurricular activities, and fairly intensive study schedules for AP courses and accompanying exams. Overwhelmed, students try to figure out how to balance it all. As a result, high school students do not dedicate the right amount of time towards maximizing their studying. Cramming and pulling “all-nighters” is still a fact of life for many. Unfortunately, these types of sessions increase stress levels and do not always lead to the best performances.

Learning how to study can be the most effective way to manage your time and still leave a little left over for some relaxation and clearing out of the cobwebs. Here are a few tips to consider:

  1. Identify your “Best Time” for Studying: Everyone has high and low periods of attention and concentration. Are you an effective “afternoon studier” or a “night studier”? Use your power times to memorize and do problem sets or essay crafting.
  2. Study Difficult Subjects First: When you are fresh, you can process information more quickly and save time as a result.
  3. Use Distributed Learning and Practice: Study in shorter time blocks with short breaks in between. This keeps you from getting fatigued and “wasting time.” This type of studying is efficient because while you are taking a break, the brain is still processing the information.
  4. Make Sure the Surroundings are Conducive to Studying: This will allow you to reduce distractions which can “waste time.” If there are times at home when you know there will be noise and commotion—the dinner hour; the time when TV is on in the living room for the family’s favorite series—use that time for mindless tasks (or watch the series with your family!)
  5. Make Room for Relaxation—even if it is just a few 20 minute breaks that allow you to step away from the computer.
  6. Make Sure you Have Time to Sleep and Eat Properly: Sleep is often an activity that students use as their time management “bank.” When they need a few extra hours for studying or socializing, they withdraw a few hours of sleep. Doing this makes the time they spend studying less effective because they will need a couple hours of clock time to get an hour of productive time. This is not a good way to manage yourself in relation to time.

More study and college application management tips soon!

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