Laura Catron ‘17: For every student with visions of sugarplums dancing in their head, there is another plagued by nightmares of midterm exams.

I don’t blame the latter, not a bit. School performance anxiety and I are well acquainted. That’s probably why I take such pleasure in neglecting schoolwork over the holidays.

Call me irresponsible, but I hardly ever touch my study guides over break. I hardly even touch the homework that actually was assigned because I’m bothered enough by the fact that it was assigned in the first place.

The whole point of winter break is to celebrate the holidays with family. But just as importantly, it allows students a chance to breathe. By winter break, we’ll have been at this for nearly four months. Four months of homework every single day, quizzes every other day, and tests every week. We deserve a break. Teachers deserve a break. And given the shorter holiday, we need to utilize every moment. Eight days without a textbook won’t kill us.

I know myself well enough to understand that my memory is awful. Actually, anyone who has ever met me knows me well enough to understand that my memory is awful. So when I say that doing a study guide for a test that takes place a month from now won’t help me, I’m not lying. Thirty more days without reviewing concepts from September do not make a bit of difference to my brain. Laziness is not my sole motivator; a terrible limbic system is also to blame.

Not only that, but when teachers neglect to post the answers to midterm study guides, there’s no guarantee that students are studying correctly, which leaves students worse off than before.

Really, unless your name is Hermione Granger or Morgan Brown, don’t stress over break. The time for panicking will come, whether or not studying took place over the holidays. When it does I’ll be right there with the rest of the student body. But until then, enjoy the end of 2016. Make some snow angels, blast Carol of the Bells, dream of sugar plums. I know I will be.

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Morgan Brown ‘17: Throughout my four years of high school, my friends and parents have shot countless irritated comments at me for being an “overachiever.”  Some people even throw it out as if it’s an insult. Maybe I am an overachiever, but it pays off in the end.

Especially this year, if we have to read a book for class, I read ahead. If we have a week to write a paper, I start writing on the first day the teacher assigns it. If there is a test in class, I start studying as soon as it is announced. I like preparing early, and midterms are no exception.

I know that lots of students, including most of my friends, wait until about a week or two before midterms to begin studying, but my midterm review starts before Christmas break.

How many times have you come back from Christmas break and completely forgotten everything for a class? I know it’s happened to me. Sometimes I even forget information over the weekend, let alone over a ten day break.

Hardly anyone wants to study over Christmas break, which is why I think teachers should start reviewing and students should start studying before break. Considering that midterms are only a few weeks after we come back from break, I think it’s important to review content that may have slipped your mind.

For someone like me who has the fatal combination of four AP classes and extreme anxiety over my grades, studying before break makes it easier and less stressful to cram four full AP tests worth of information into my head.

Others in my shoes may want to think about doing the same thing.

If you have difficult classes that stress you out, the best thing to do is constantly review the material for that class. That way, come midterm week, there’s a smaller amount of information that you still need to review, and you’ll be more confident with the material.

Confidence is key when it comes to testing, and one of the best ways to build confidence is by consistent practice that begins early.

 

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