Turning Up The Heat

The Pressure of the Third Marking Period, and How to Hit the Ground Running

Mia Caldonetti, Reporter

Three is a notoriously cursed number within the academic system. The third marking period, the third year, the third level (Standard, Honors, AP), all known as the most difficult in their category. With the new year, students tend to overwhelm themselves with expectations, for example, New Year’s Resolutions, grade goals, and approaching extracurriculars. So how are we going to keep up with the rising heat?

A research paper from Old Dominion University found that overall grades drop as the year goes on, specifically starting halfway through the second marking period and throughout the third. This could be due to the fact that midterms, as well as the increasing difficulty in most classes, make it generally harder to keep up with subpar study habits. However, there are many ways to take the heat off.

There are six important techniques to doing well in school, one of the most notable being “Don’t cram for exams,” according to Azusa Pacific University. Here at Hershey High School, it is normal for tests to be on Mondays or Tuesdays, making the weekend a valuable asset, especially for tests/quizzes on those days. 

It is suggested to take 50 minutes to choose and study a subtopic within the unit material being tested on so that you can focus your understanding on that aspect. American Psychology Association (APA) says that in order to fully understand a topic, a student must spend a total of twelve hours studying within a month, about three to four hours a week is expected to be spent on this one topic; considering all of the possible excuses, this still isn’t very time consuming especially since most chapters last about a month. Other colleges, such as Aspen University, suggest the 50/10 rule, with a 50 minute straight study time and a 10 minute break.

Keeping a healthy mentality is just as important as studying. The National Library of Medicine supports the notion of stress having harsh repercussions on the brain and body. Granted, being a high school student, there isn’t much one can do to eliminate stress, but there are many ways to decrease the amount. Bruce S. McEwen, a Neuroscientist from Rockefeller University, wrote in an article that “Stress can cause an imbalance of neural circuitry subserving cognition, decision making, anxiety and mood that can increase or decrease expression of those behaviors and behavioral states”. Having fun with friends, exercising, and finding a creative outlet is important to keeping a strong and disciplined mindset that is able to remain focused at school and studying. A highly suggested strategy for combining work and social affairs is creating a study group. Finding a group of people that you can work with after or during school will increase productivity and focus, that is, if there is a mutual agreement to stay on track with the assignment. 

Goals should be attainable. If a student wishes to achieve “Straight A Status,” they shouldn’t pack their schedule with classes and extracurriculars with no breathing room. Study halls can be incredibly useful if the student uses this time to be productive. There are many opportunities to get work done throughout the school including lunch and homeroom if the goal is to decrease after school work due to clubs, sports, volunteer work, etc. 

If there are any issues regarding grades, schedule, requirements, etc. the school counselor is obligated to sit down and find solutions. It is their job to work with us so that we may succeed. Which is why we, as students, need to advocate for ourselves and start off strong with the new marking period.