Smarter Studying

Students+reconsider+their+study+schedules+in+light+of+recent+studies+encouraging+different+review+methods.%0AGrace+Isford+%2715

Students reconsider their study schedules in light of recent studies encouraging different review methods. Grace Isford ’15

Every high school student has been there. It’s the night before a huge exam and her textbook lies completely unopened, collecting dust in her backpack. She has two options: muse over all the moments she could have spent studying or cram.
Cramming has become second nature to high school students around the world. Sometimes, students get lucky and perform well on test day. High test scores, however, do not necessarily equal true intellect.
According to The New York Times, high scores can be achieved by short term studying, but the majority of that information will be quickly lost. Material is not learned, but rather quickly memorized, soon to be forgotten. When it comes time to take the final exam, students who crammed will have a much harder time than students who started studying earlier.
“When you are cramming for a test, you are holding that information in your head for a limited amount of time,” Mr. Benedict Carey, a science reporter for The New York Times said. “But you haven’t signaled to the brain in a strong way that it’s really valuable.”
Having a consistent study schedule allows for better absorption of the material, according to newsroom.ucla.edu. For example, studying for 30 minutes every other day is much more effective than studying for 120 minutes the night before the exam. Psychologists say that humans learn best in short takes, according to vox.com.
Simply changing study environments and taking breaks can also improve brainpower on any given topic.
“The brain wants variation,” Mr. Carey said. “It wants to move. It wants to take periodic breaks.”
According to criticalthinking.organother basic way to improve study patterns is to look for interconnections. Connecting new material with material already learned or even personal life events will be beneficial for students.

Students reconsider their study schedules in light of recent studies encouraging different review methods. Grace Isford '15
Students reconsider their study schedules in light of recent studies encouraging different review methods.
Grace Isford ’15

Lastly, sleep plays a great role in the absorption of facts and skills. According to The New York Times, the first half of the sleep cycle helps retain facts, while the second half helps retain math skills. Thus, a student with a history test is better off going to bed early and reviewing in the morning. A math student, however, should review before going to sleep so that the brain can process the new skills.
“No one is suggesting that students shouldn’t study, but an adequate amount of sleep is also critical for academic success. These results are constant with emerging research suggesting that sleep deprivation impedes learning,” UCLA professor of psychiatry Andrew J. Fuligni said.
Students at Convent of the Sacred Heart plan to keep these tips in mind the next time they have to study for a test.
“I thought it was better to study the night before tests because the information sinks in overnight, ” senior Sheila Moran said. “But I might vary my study habits in the future since the effectiveness of night studying varies depending on the subject.”
– Kim Smith, Managing Editor