The Facebook Effect: How to Stay Focused for Exams

It’s crunch time. Exams are quickly approaching (less than 2 weeks away) for many students.

If you’re like most students you may have noticed that the amount of time you’ve been spending on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter has significantly increased over the past few weeks or days.

If this is the case, don’t feel bad. It’s completely normal. But it’s still a big problem and the sooner you control distractions in your environment, the better.

Will power and self discipline are great ideas in theory, but at the end of the day after a long day at school, you most likely feel tired and your will power reserves are running low or close to nil. For this reason, it’s quite challenging for many students to resist the temptation to log onto Facebook. The stress and discomfort of thinking about exams also makes many students want to seek relief. The easy way to get relief is to log onto Facebook and switch off.

WIth all that in mind, an intervention is needed. There are a number of applications that you can download that will restrict your access to the internet and help y ou focus. Below are two programmes that I have tested and regularly use to help me stay focused on my work.

Self Control

Self Control is an ideal programme to use if you still need to use the internet for work but don’t want to be able to access certain addictive websites.

It contains a “blacklist” in which you type in the websites you want to be locked out from. When you want to activate the programme, you simply click start and select how long you want to be locked out for. It’s free to download but unfortunately it’s only available to Mac users with OS X operating systems.


If the internet is too distracting for you and you don’t need it to complete your work (e.g. you need to read a book or practice solving some equations) then skip Self Control and use Freedom. This nifty little application will set you back $10US, but it allows you to lock yourself out of the web for up to 8 hours at a time.

If you’re unsure about spending $10US at this stage, there is a free trial version available. The good news is this application is available for Mac and Windows computers.

A student asked me with a cheeky smile –

“But what if I activate the programme and then just restart my computer when I want to go back onto Facebook?”

The creators of these applications aren’t stupid and they designed both Self Control and Freedom in such a way that deleting the application or restarting your computer won’t make any difference. You have to wait for the time to run out.

So even if you have poor self control, there is help out there. The key is to be willing to try out these programmes. It may mean that initially you have to force yourself to activate the programme and you may feel uncomfortable. But after some time the discomfort will subside and you will be amazed by how much study you’ll be able to get through in a short space of time.

4 thoughts on “The Facebook Effect: How to Stay Focused for Exams

  1. I’ve deactivated my facebook account today coz I cannot resist the temptation of logging in.

  2. For Windows users, there is an application called “Cold Turkey”, which, like “Self Control”, blocks the websites on the Blacklist for a chosen amount of time.

    I wish Facebook had this option of letting us deactivate our accounts for a chosen time period. For example, if we had 2 weeks of exams, we could deactivate our account for 2 weeks. Or a month. Or even a few days, depending on what we need. That would help students a lot!

  3. Heh, I may have to try out Freedom or Cold Turkey! 😀

    I use this program called Temptation Blocker but, well, THOSE designers WERE stupid. To trick TB you just have to restart the computer… :C

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