Part 1: Inner Critic
While I'm taking a test, I often find my inner critic appearing. Whenever I am not sure about a question or I begin to doubt information that I was sure I knew moments earlier, I start to get frustrated and angry with myself. I tell myself:
"You idiot, you knew the answer to this earlier so why can't you remember it now? It's not that hard of a question. If you think this is hard then the rest of the test is only going to be worse."
Once I begin to think like that, I become even more frustrated with myself and continue to rethink a question repeatedly over until I come to some conclusion of an answer.
However, since I am still not sure about my answers for my test, I begin to blame others and my inner defender starts to show.
Part 2: Inner Defender
Once Iv'e become the most frustrated I can be on a test, I will start to blame others for me not being able to do well.
I first blame my roommates for either being too loud or distracting me with a problem the night before. Then I move my anger towards the teacher of the class. I will say something along the lines of:
"It's not my fault I don't know what's on the test, he/she didn't tell me what to study for! How should I have known to study for this section or this information if they don't tell me what to know!"
Once I've gotten past a rant or two out of me, I begin to calm down and take a breathe, which allows the inner guide to help me.
Part 3: Inner Guide
Once I have had a moment to relax and not stress myself out, I take a moment to reflect on my actions. I think about what I have done to study for the test and if that was enough. I usually start to reflect by saying:
"You could have studied more for this test but you decided to take a break for a nap because you didn't sleep well last night. Next time study more in advance so that you can have time to sleep. Also, look around, drink some water, and try to remember that formula you knew like the back of your hand earlier and finish this test the best way you can."
Once I've calmed myself down, I usually feel better about the test and know that I am probably not going to do badly on the test and that I was just stressing myself out unnecessarily.
Part 4: Reflection
I believe that I have a bad habit of immediately going to the inner critic phase whenever I face a challenge. I start to insult and belittle myself and ask why can’t I do a task or answer a question while it seems that everyone else can do it just fine.
While I know that everyone struggles with something, I find myself thinking everyone is better than me and that I am the only one who is having any problems. I know that this is not the case when I am not stress or calmed, but it is hard for me to remember that when I am focused on a task or a test.
I have been trying to change this way of thinking for a while now and I find myself to only do this when I am stressed or in a new situation. Whenever I am in those situations, I have been trying to calm myself down and just breathe so I can take a moment to relax.
Hopefully those few seconds of breathing will help calm down my nerves enough to the point where I don’t feel so bad anymore. I am trying to allow my inner guide to have a better chance of influencing me than my inner critic.
Day 1: Monday Feb. 13
9:05 - 9:55 : accounting class
10:15 - 11 : human communication class
11:15 - 12:05 : micro econ class
12:20 - 1:00 : communications lab class
2:00 - 3:00 : Lunch with friend
3:30 - 6:30 : relax time / chores / dinner
6:30 - 10:00 : study for classes
10:00 - 12:00 - relax / getting ready for bed
NOTES: Did not plan to relax for as long as I did, wanted to study a little more but I was very tired that day and did not want to do anymore despite knowing the upcoming tests.
Day 2: Tuesday Feb. 14
9:30 - 10:45 : psychology class
10:45 - 12:30 : relax and study at the library
12:30 - 1:45 : CU 1010 class (cancelled) - [went home instead and ate lunch]
2:00 - 6:00 : studied for accounting and did online hw, did communications notes and studying
6:00 - 8:30 : dinner / chores
8:30 - 10:00 : relaxing
10:00 - 12:00 : studying
NOTES: I was content with the amount of studying and homework I did. I felt like I did just enough to prepare myself for my tests the next day. I also wanted to make sure I got plenty of sleep so I try not to go to bed later than midnight before a test.
Day 3: Wednesday Feb. 15
9:00 - 9:55 : accounting test
10:15 - 11:00 : human communications test
11:15 - 12:05 : micro econ class
12:20 - 1:45 : human communications lab class
2:30 - 5:30 : napped and relaxed
5:30 - 6:30 : dinner / chores
6:30 - 9:30 : notes / homework / studying
9:30 - 12:00 : relaxing
NOTES: I planned on coming home and getting ahead / doing a lot of note taking but I was just exhausted that day, mentally and physically. I decided to sleep and relax instead because I thought I deserved to take a break, but I still made sure to study enough for my quiz the next day.
Journal Entry Day 1: Monday Feb. 13
On Monday I had planned on doing accounting hw, studying for my accounting test on wednesday, studying for my econ quiz, studying for my communication test on wednesday, and possibly go over the material quiz for BUS 101. I succeeded in doing all of my accomplishments except studying for my econ and bus 101 quiz.
Journal Entry Day 2: Tuesday Feb. 14
On Tuesday, I did all of my accounting homework for practice for the test tomorrow on top of studying. I also reread parts of my communication textbook and notes for the test tomorrow, did not get to study as much as I wanted because accounting took longer than I thought it would. I also did not touch econ or bus 101 because the other two tests took priority.
Journal Entry Day 3: Wednesday Feb. 15
Lastly, I studied for my econ quiz, did econ homework, studied for the BUS 101 quiz and tried taking some notes for accounting for the next chapter that was due on friday.
For the first technique, I am trying to study outside my room more. Sometimes I think I get distracted too easily in my room so I tried going downstairs in my apartment's living room to study. I did this over the course of three days for several hours each to see if that would effect my studying habits on my accounting test.
I had a table to write on instead of a bed, I had a more open area so it felt more like a classroom than in my room, and I didn't easily get distracted from my phone because I left it upstairs while I was working. It gave me more of a feel of seriousness of the homework, as if it were the test.
I think that getting out of my room helped me focus better, helped me feel more urgent about studying, and was able to feel more confident on my test.
The second technique I used was a flash card / memory game online. I created flashcards online in order to test myself with terms of my communications tests. I normally don't do well on tests with a lot of new terms. I did this technique in order to test / quiz and see how much better I would do.
I went online and used Cenage, Mind Trap for information I needed. From there I created my own online flash cards and wrote down all of the terms of the chapters I needed to study for my test. I found myself able to remember certain words better and other that just would not stick to my memory for some reason. Afterwards I wrote down the definitions of the words I was having trouble with several times and it helped me remember.
Overall, the flash cards / online memory game experience did help me memorized certain words better. I am not sure though if I would use it again simply because setting up the flash cards, writing them all out again, and spending more time going through them all was very time consuming. I might try a different technique next time I try to test my memory.
I always tell myself to practice questions more and to try to push myself to see how well I know it, but I find I have a bad habit of just doing the bare minimum.
For this technique, I tried to put more effort in practicing example problems that my teacher gave me before the quiz. For my econ quiz, I did a worksheet review for homework, looked over the notes, and redid some of the practice problems given in class, by myself.
I felt that this technique was the most effective due to the fact that I felt like I did really well on my quiz and walked out confident. I also felt that I remembered the material better. This has influenced me to want to try to use that extra effort and put it into more practice.