Nothing shouts risky like cramming for an exam during commercial breaks between football games or the latest episode of “The Bachelor.”
Despite the bizarre nature of memorizing equations and difficult concepts at the same time as other daily tasks, more students are opting for this study technique than traditional visits to the library or the serenity of a dorm room.
For most students, the issue behind this trend can be attributed to poor time management.
“I think the problem is that people are often busy and try to balance everything at once, ” said Doc Fullmer, a sophomore from Syracuse, Kan. “This leads to multitasking in order to get everything done.”
Phillip D. Rash, manager of the BYU Career and Academic Success Center, said improper time management is a major player in this dilemma.
“When I sit down with a student who is complaining they aren’t getting the grades they want, I make a time analysis with them,” Rash said. “Almost always I notice students aren’t carving out enough time during the week to study.”
While multi-tasking study habits with other activities may appear to be ineffective, those short on time can still have effective study sessions if they go about it the right way.
“Students spend lots of time copying notes, glancing over them or reading and re-reading them, which can be terribly inefficient,” Rash said.
According to Rash, proper studying requires students to go through a process called encoding.
“Encoding is a process that basically means moving information from your short-term to long-term memory,” Rash said. “This allows you to reach into your memory and grab that information when you need it.”
As students study in ways that allow them to lock information into their long-term memory, their studying will become more beneficial.
The wonderful news is this process does not require a lot of time. The time between commercials and while waiting in line may still be too little, but applying the right study techniques can save time, leaving more for the game.
This does not mean that students should not set specific time aside for their studies. BYU recommends spending two hours of studying outside of class for every hour inside of class, and Rash emphasizes this point as true.
While the manner in which studying is done is incredibly important, this does not discount the necessity of good study environments.
“People need to find an environment that works for them,” Rash said. “There can be people who study better with background noise, but most require a comfortable place with a desk and a good chair.”
Inevitably, students have to find what works best for them, a happy medium between the Cougareat and a corner cubical in the HBLL.
For Jordan Andrasko, a freshman from McAllen,Texas, this means finding an area with no cell phone service to avoid the accompanying distractions. For Tiffany Wixom, a senior from Draper, it requires leaving the overwhelming library for a quiet cubicle in the JKB.
Fortunately, BYU offers a variety of help for students looking to improve their work. The Academic Success Center offers a range of workshops, from time and stress management to note taking and textbook comprehension. On top of that, there are many credited courses aimed at helping students learn proper techniques to get the most out of their studying and improve their class performance.
For a list of credited courses and workships, students can visit the Career and Academic Success Center website at ccc.byu.edu/casc/ or like them on Facebook under BYU Career and Academic Success Center.