Common distractions and how to deal with them

Common distractions and how to deal with them

High school students are often under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed in their academic pursuits. The International Baccalaureate (IB), Advanced Placement (AP), SAT, and ACT exams are all important milestones in a student’s academic journey. However, with the ever-increasing amount of distractions that exist in the modern world, it can be challenging for students to stay focused and maintain the level of productivity required to excel in these exams. In this blog, we will explore the top distractions for an IB AP SAT ACT high school student and provide practical tips on how to deal with them.

Distraction #1: Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, and high school students are no exception. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter can be highly addictive, and students often find themselves spending hours scrolling through their feeds instead of studying. Social media can be a significant distraction for students as it provides an instant source of entertainment and gratification, making it difficult to resist.

How to deal with it:

  • Set boundaries: Students should set a specific time limit for social media usage and stick to it. For example, they can allow themselves to use social media for only 30 minutes a day after they have completed their study goals.
  • Use apps: Various apps can help students limit their social media usage, such as Freedom, Stay Focused, and Forest. These apps block or limit access to specific websites or apps for a predetermined amount of time.
  • Turn off notifications: Students should turn off notifications from social media apps to avoid distractions. They can check their social media accounts during their designated social media time rather than responding to every notification as it pops up.

How to take advantage of it:

  • Follow academic accounts: Follow academic accounts related to your field of study. This will allow you to stay up-to-date on the latest research and connect with professionals in your field.
  • Use it for research: Social media can be an excellent resource for research. Join academic groups related to your field of study and participate in discussions.

Distraction #2: TV Shows and Video Games

TV shows and video games can be highly engaging and provide instant gratification. It’s easy for students to get hooked and spend hours binge-watching shows or playing video games instead of studying. While some TV shows and video games can be educational, many are purely entertainment-based and can be a major distraction for students.

How to deal with it:

  • Set limits: Students should limit their TV show and video game time to weekends or only after they have completed their daily study goals.
  • Choose educational content: Students can opt for educational TV shows or video games that align with their academic goals. For example, they can watch shows like Cosmos or play games like Math Blaster.
  • Unplug: If students find themselves unable to resist the temptation of TV shows or video games, they should unplug and remove any access to them during study time.

How to take advantage of it:

  • Use it for language learning: Many TV shows and video games are available in different languages. This can be an excellent opportunity to practice your language skills.
  • Explore educational games: There are many educational games available that can help you improve your academic skills. Look for games that are related to your field of study.
  • Watch documentaries: Many streaming services offer documentaries related to academic topics. This can be an excellent way to learn more about a subject you are studying.

Distraction #3: Smartphones

Smartphones are a ubiquitous device that most students carry with them at all times. While smartphones can be incredibly useful for staying connected and accessing information, they can also be a significant distraction. Students can quickly become sidetracked by text messages, phone calls, or social media notifications, making it challenging to focus on their studies.

How to deal with it:

  • Keep it out of reach: Students should keep their smartphones out of reach while studying. They can keep their phones in another room or turn off notifications to avoid distractions.
  • Use airplane mode: Students can use airplane mode to block incoming calls and texts while studying.
  • Set up study apps: Various apps can help students stay focused and avoid distractions, such as Focus@Will, which plays music specifically designed to improve concentration.

How to take advantage of it:

  • Use it for note-taking: Many smartphones come with a built-in note-taking app. This can be a convenient way to take notes during lectures or when studying.
  • Download educational apps: There are many educational apps available that can help you improve your academic skills. Look for apps that are related to your field of study.
  • Listen to podcasts: Many podcasts are available on academic topics. This can be an excellent way to learn more about a subject you are studying.

Distraction #4: Procrastination

Procrastination is a common problem for students, and it can be challenging to overcome. It’s easy for students to get sidetracked by other activities or to put off studying until the last minute, leading to stress and lower grades.

How to deal with it:

  • Create a schedule: Students should create a study schedule that outlines what they need to study and when they need to study it. This will help them stay on track and avoid procrastination.
  • Break it down: Large assignments or projects can be overwhelming and lead to procrastination. Students can break these tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts to make them less daunting.
  • Set goals: Students should set specific, achievable goals for each study session. This will help them stay motivated and make it easier to track their progress.

How to take advantage of it:

  • Use it for brainstorming: Procrastination can be an excellent time to brainstorm ideas for a project or assignment. Take some time to jot down ideas and create an outline.
  • Research related topics: When procrastinating, take some time to research related topics. This can provide you with additional information to include in your assignment or project.
  • Discuss the topic with others: Procrastination can be an excellent opportunity to discuss the topic with friends or family members. This can help you gain new perspectives and ideas.

Distraction #5: Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep can have a significant impact on a student’s ability to focus and retain information. High school students often have busy schedules and may sacrifice sleep to complete assignments or study for exams. However, lack of sleep can lead to decreased productivity and lower grades.

To begin with, here are some reasons for why IB students lack sleep:

  • Academic demands: The IB program is academically rigorous, and students are expected to complete a significant amount of coursework, including essays, projects, and exams. The workload can be overwhelming, and students may find themselves staying up late to complete assignments or study for exams.
  • Extracurricular activities: Many IB students are also involved in extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, or volunteer work. These activities can be time-consuming and may require students to sacrifice sleep to keep up with their commitments.
  • Social pressure: Peer pressure can also be a factor in IB students’ lack of sleep. Social activities, such as parties or late-night chats with friends, can interfere with students’ sleep schedules.
  • Stress and anxiety: The IB program can be very stressful, and many students experience anxiety or stress related to academic performance, exams, or college applications. These emotions can interfere with students’ ability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night.
  • Technology: The use of technology, such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets, can also contribute to lack of sleep for IB students. These devices emit blue light, which can interfere with the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep. Additionally, students may be tempted to check their devices late at night, which can interfere with their ability to fall asleep.

How to deal with it:

  • Create a sleep schedule: Students should create a sleep schedule that allows for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. They should stick to this schedule even on weekends to maintain a consistent sleep pattern.
  • Avoid caffeine: Students should avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon or evening, as it can interfere with sleep patterns.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Students should create a relaxing bedtime routine to help them wind down before bed. This can include activities such as reading a book, taking a bath, or listening to calming music.

How to take advantage of it:

  • Use it for studying: If you find yourself unable to fall asleep, use the time to study or review material. This can be a productive use of your time and can help you stay on top of your studies.
  • Meditate or practice relaxation techniques: Lack of sleep can be a sign of stress or anxiety. Use this time to practice meditation or other relaxation techniques to help you feel more centered and calm.
  • Get some exercise: Lack of sleep can also be a sign that your body needs more exercise. Take a quick walk or do some light yoga to help you feel more energized and focused.

Distraction #6: External Stressors

High school students face a range of external stressors that can be a significant distraction. These stressors can include family problems, relationship issues, substance abuse, or financial difficulties. External stressors can make it challenging to focus on studying and can lead to lower grades. Substance abuse and relationship issues, specifically, can be significant external stressors for IB students as these challenges can have a significant impact on a student’s mental health, academic performance, and overall well-being.

Substance abuse, including the misuse of drugs and alcohol, can be particularly problematic for IB students. Many students in the program face high levels of stress and pressure to perform well academically. As a result, some students may turn to substance use as a coping mechanism, which can lead to addiction, health problems, and other negative consequences.

Relationship issues can also be a significant external stress for IB students. Many students in the program are juggling multiple responsibilities, including academic work, extracurricular activities, and personal relationships. This can be challenging, and relationship issues, such as breakups or conflicts with friends, can add to the stress and strain that students are already experiencing.

To deal with substance abuse and relationship issues as external stressors, there are a few steps that IB students can take:

  • Seek support: It’s essential to seek out support from trusted friends, family members, or mental health professionals. Talking to someone about your struggles can help you feel less alone and can provide you with valuable guidance and support.
  • Manage stress: Developing healthy coping mechanisms for stress can help to reduce the likelihood of turning to substance use or other negative behaviors. Strategies like exercise, meditation, or deep breathing can help to manage stress and improve overall well-being.
  • Focus on self-care: Taking care of yourself is crucial when dealing with external stressors. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Set boundaries: Setting boundaries in relationships can be important for managing stress. This may mean taking a break from a toxic relationship or setting limits on the time and energy you invest in relationships.
  • Seek professional help: If you’re struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues related to relationship problems, it’s important to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you develop a treatment plan and provide you with the tools and resources you need to manage your stress and improve your overall well-being.

In conclusion, high school students face a range of distractions that can make it challenging to stay focused and productive. Social media, TV shows and video games, smartphones, procrastination, lack of sleep, and external stressors are all common distractions for IB AP SAT ACT high school students. However, there are practical steps that students can take to minimize these distractions and stay on track with their academic goals. By setting boundaries, creating schedules, and prioritizing self-care, students can overcome distractions and achieve academic success.

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