We’re currently enjoying summer vacation without the added pressure of exams for academic classes. As Bronx Science students, we feel the academic pressure of doing our best in our classes, so once September rolls around, we will once again be tackling exams for our classes.
For many ninth graders and sophomores, major assessments at Bronx Science are fairly new – they haven’t been exposed to the bustling nature in which students begin to buckle down and study for their upcoming tests, due to the 2020-2021 academic year which was mostly fully remote due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Nonetheless, the added stress when it comes to testing is prevalent among the entire Bronx Science community.
A prime example of this is Jessica Singh, a sophomore at Bronx Science. “I’ve definitely fallen victim to studying way longer than I should, cramming before tests, and not being able to sleep well because of it,” she said.
Most students, especially myself, can relate to Singh’s account.
We are all aware of the dangers of falling into the deep depths of terrible testing habits, and yet we still do it. It is important to understand the detrimental effects that our study habits have on ourselves. But what’s more important is to find healthy alternatives to combat these issues.
You Need Some Sleep:
More often than not, individuals will choose to sacrifice a few hours of sleep for extra hours of studying. That in itself may not seem like much, but it is incredibly harmful. One requires sleep to function properly. The mind and body demand rest to maintain homeostasis. According to John Hopkins Medicine, when “we sleep too little, we become unable to process what we’ve learned during the day, and we have more trouble remembering it in the future.”
The effects of sleep deprivation are translated into many health risks, including migraines, depression, a weakened immune system, among other things. If one fails to get their vital sleep, then “their immunity [may be] compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection.”
Instead of postponing your sleep further, get the rest you deserve.
Preparation Is Key:
We often reference the phrase: ‘Practice makes perfect.’ While perfection is an unattainable concept, practice is still necessary for excellence. To be prepared for an upcoming test increases one’s likelihood of performing better on that test. Whether that means looking over notes or doing practice questions, preparation allows one to funnel their anxiety elsewhere, allowing them to attack the source of stress as well as improving results.
Eat Something Healthy As A Prelude:
Food is essential and fuels the body immensely. The morning before a test, eat an appetizing, nutritional breakfast that will sate you for a few hours. A nutritious breakfast could be a bowl of cereal, eating a variety of fruits, or even a bagel with cream cheese. Whatever you choose, when you give your body the nutrients it needs to survive, it functions harmoniously. Our dietary choices play a pivotal role in our energy levels and spirit, allowing for a better mindset and to power through a test.
No To The Cram:
Believe it or not, cramming is a health hazard. Sukru Burc Eryilmaz, a P.H.D. candidate at Stanford University, says that when you cram information into your brain, you “place more stress on the brain, pushing it beyond its limits […] when the brain is overworked too much, too often, it increases feelings of anxiety, frustration, fatigue, and even confusion.”
Additionally, cramming leads to lower grades, an imbalance in sleep schedule, and an unhealthier outlook on life. When students don’t begin to study from the start, they find cramming as their last and only option. With that said, do not waste your time cramming as you will clutter your brain with information that you will most likely forget.
‘Lose the Electronics!’:
Dr. Todd Handy, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, offers a strategy: lose the electronics. Many of us make the mistake of keeping our phones near us as we study. While doing so might not affect some, generally, when you are around electronics, you may feel more tempted to use them, ditching the studying.
In turn, this reduces your concentration levels and effectiveness to study as a whole.
An easy solution is to genuinely ‘lose the electronics’ so that you will prioritize studying further.
Change That Mindset:
Kyla Rosin ’23, the founder of an anxiety-related Instagram account (@takefiight), has combatted her testing anxiety by shifting her mindset entirely. She said, “I like to remind myself that tests are temporary. Once they’re over, they are over. A test doesn’t define who you are as a person.” We let tests overpower us because of the failures and roadblocks they seemingly represent. But, there is so much more to who you are as an individual than tests.
At The End Of The Day:
There are a slew of bad habits that we need to break and getting started is hard. But, by implementing better routines, we are setting ourselves up for success. Not only will these habits lead us through future testing seasons but through life in general.
By implementing better routines, we are setting ourselves up for success. Not only will these habits lead us through future testing seasons but through life in general.