ESPN: A more productive way to study for finals

Last week, I undertook the challenge of trying to study for a Macroeconomics test while catching up on episodes of Suits. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well, as I was too enthralled by the drama and swag-talk of New York’s best closer, Harvey Specter. I got zero studying done and was less prepared for the Macro Test than before I started my Suits binge.

I find that many students at Oxford face this “drama trap” when studying for a test or writing a paper. Often times, a student will feel motivated to start writing that essay for Psych and then coincidentally check Facebook. From there, they will see a friend’s status that posts a link to some funny, satirical YouTube video that inevitably leads him/her to delay writing the Psych paper until 3:00 AM.

The school year is coming to a close fast and the headwinds of final exams are about to hit us all. We have to accept that we cannot start adequately prepping for final exams if we keep Netflix or Hulu Plus right next to us. However, there is an alternative channel to watch the next time we consider studying in front of a TV: ESPN.

In 2008, the University of Chicago conducted a research study on sports fans to see how watching a sports game would affect the neural networks of the brain. The study, “Playing, And Even Watching, Sports Improves Brain Function”, concluded that watching sports stimulates a thrilling feeling to the mind and subsequently supports comprehension and motivation abilities. To see whether this was true, I watched the March Madness Round of 64 while studying for my Macro test. This time, not only did I finish reading two chapters, but I remembered everything I read the next day as well.

Nobody likes taking finals, but that does not mean that you cannot have any fun while studying for them. When exams begin to come around, I would urge everyone to study and watch ESPN at the same time. Not only will you get excitement from the sport, you’ll have more motivation to study and ace those finals.

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