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The Mess of Stress

It wasn’t that long ago that “pulling an all-nighter” was a badge of academic honor. Spending the whole night studying was seen as the highest form of dedication to your studies. The thinking was that, by sacrificing sleep and rest, you were a hero for cramming all night to gear up for a big test or project.

Most folks trying the all-nighters were either a) procrastinators leaving everything for the last minute or b) uber-studiers that put their lives on hold in hopes of academic achievement. Either way, it now seems that going the all-night route is actually counterproductive, particularly if it is a common practice.

You see, over time, stress on the brain actually kills brain cells. No joke. Check out John Medina’s Brain Rules. His Rule #8 is that a “stressed brain does not learn the same as a non-stressed brain.” Mr. Medina has scientifically proven that cognitive performance decreases as stress increases.

I’ve sung this tune before with my students: you can’t cram for the SAT. If you think you can pick up the book the night before, or even the week before, and pack in some all night study sessions, you may actually hurt your chances to score the best.

Avoid stressing the brain when learning. Give yourself enough time to review the material at a pace that allows your brain to comprehend and retain the information. A little stress is okay, but prolonged stress may actually kill brain cells. Not a good idea when gearing up for that next SAT or ACT test.

Keep in mind that CROSSWALK has several test prep options for you: try a Boot Camp or private tutoring. A tutor will work with you to make sure learning and cognitive performance are optimized. We are the Monterey Peninsula’s local resource for test prep and academic tutoring. Contact CROSSWALK today.

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