By Henry Jani

Cramming involves studying for countless hours in a last ditch attempt to score proficiently on a test. While cramming may seem like a magnificent idea at first, many students slide into the danger-zone of pulling an “all-nighter,” or skipping sleep to study. These are not effective study skills. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Brain and Behavior, an article that researched sleep deprivation and its negative effects on one’s ability to perform, claims that for maximum brain efficiency, eight and a half hours of sleep are needed for the average teenager; therefore, depriving a brain of sleep means not allowing it to preform with top results.

Sophomore Maggie Bender can attest to how cramming didn’t result in the most desirable outcome for her. As she had many extra-curricular activities keeping her busy, Maggie ended up procrastinating for an AP Biology test. Consequently, she had a unique cramming experience.

“First, I watched a few clips from a disturbing horror film that I knew would keep me wide awake. I opened all of my windows, despite the freezing weather, and constantly stayed in motion while reading and memorizing [the test material]. Every 30 minutes, I would drink a glass of freezing water, snack on high-energy food, and listen to loud, obnoxious music. Finally, by 4 AM, I had to shove my head in a bucket of freezing water to avoid crashing. But I pulled it off.” In the end, Maggie got a B on the test, which didn’t exactly please her: “I tend to be an A student, so I can’t say that a B makes me happy.”

But pulling an all-nighter is not the only detrimental study technique that students have tried. Another is through the use of a drug called Adderall. Adderall is a medication prescribed to treat ADHD or ADD. When correctly prescribed, the drug helps a person with an attention disorder become more focused. The problem emerges when people who are not prescribed the medication and do not have ADD/ADHD take it to aid their focus before cramming for a large test.

According to an article titled Adderall: College Students’ Best Friend – Or Worst Enemy? the drug does place users in an ultra-focused state of mind. However, when not given a prescription by a doctor to use such medication, problems can arise.

When faced with a large Social Studies test, Sophomore Ty Getsay needed to score an A to make up for a not-so-good grade on a previous test. But, the problem was that he had saved studying until the last minute. Ty, who is prescribed Adderall, chooses not to use it for regular days at school because he said he doesn’t enjoy the side effects. However, Ty decided to use one of his prescribed pills to maximize his studying ability for this test. Ty said that the effects of the pill were helpful.

“The best [way] I can describe [the feeling of the drug] is zombie-like; it felt as if the information I was studying was just being absorbed.” He said it made memorization of facts much easier. Ty, who did score an A on his test, still does not want to resort to this plan in the future. Because of the way this drug made him feel, he said, “I’d [will] try harder to avoid cramming so I wouldn’t have to do this [Adderall] again.” Other AHS students have used Adderall to study as well, but for some, the pill hasn’t always been prescribed to them. Because Adderall is quite easy to obtain, some students have obtained the pill from a friend or relative who had a prescription. One of these students, a senior, got the pill from her brother and took it before she went into her ACT. “I took two 30 mg pills,” she said, “and [at first I thought that] it really helped me become focused. But later on, I got an allergic reaction.” This student eventually had to be taken to the hospital.

 

There are better study techniques that can be utilized in preparation for an exam. Ones that will not put an individuals health in jeopardy. See below for those helpful hints.

 

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