DECEMBER 9, 2011
By Allison Davey ’14, Contributing Writer
Exams are underway. And the campus conversation centers on stress, deadlines, and who stayed up later the night before to study.
Pick a day during finals week and nearly every classroom and study room will be taken by nervous students cramming for exams. They tend to work all day and into the early hours of the morning. Many cut themselves off from the outside world.
Though seclusion and spending long hours huddled behind computer screens and books may seem like the best strategy, it is not, according to professionals.
Breaks are an important part of studying. They help you process and understand all the information. They should be short and consist of physical activity or social interaction — and that does not mean going on Facebook or other social networking sites.
According to Margaret Praytor, Associate Director at the Furman Counseling Center, “Students need to mix things up. They should do something physical or social. Even just going to a meal with someone or taking a short walk helps.”
She says many students admit that one of the primary distractions during study time is their phone. The key is to turn it off and completely remove it from your mind. Instead of texting people all day to avoid work, focus on the current task so you can meet people for dinner later, because as Praytor states, “You have to eat anyway.”
Praytor said, “When you cram information, it isn’t stored in your long-term memory. It’s better to pace yourself and actually learn the material.” To be fully prepared for exams, Praytor suggests writing everything down that you have to accomplish and setting up a schedule for yourself.
“Create a plan of attack,” she says. “Work backwards to make sure you allocate your time [wisely]. You need to put your energy in the place where it will make the most difference.”