Trading in new cells for old to focus on exams

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Trading in new cells for old to focus on exams

Smartphones are the smart choice for anyone who can afford one. They offer entertainment, information and distraction.

But for people who need to focus, smartphones can be the enemy. And many people studying for important exams have traded in their offending cells for old clamshell models that don’t offer much in the way of temptation.

Kim Ga-yeon, a 25-year-old college student who is preparing for the CPA exam, has gone retro. She was a Samsung’s Galaxy S3 user but switched it for an LG Wine, a lower-end flip phone.

“I changed my phone to focus on my studies,” she said. “I would commonly spend three to four hours fiddling with my smartphone and doing Facebook and Kakao Talk.

“People who pass the CPA exam say you should invest 10 hours a day to studying,” Kim said. “My smartphone prevented me from studying as much as I should.”

Kim isn’t alone in going abandoning the new for the old.

Game apps, which can be ruthless brain-hijackers because of their addictiveness, constantly distracted Lee In-beom, who is preparing for the civil service exam.

The more he played with his smartphone the less likely he was to do well on the tough, highly competitive exam that requires a heavy load of memorization, he thought.

“After switching to the old-style phone, I found more time to study and my concentration improved,” said the 27-year-old Lee.

The JoongAng Ilbo conducted a survey of 57 people who are studying for law school entrance tests, civil service exams and other similar tests to see how they use their smartphones.

Forty-four respondents, or 80 percent, said smartphones interfere with their studies.

Cell phone merchants near Noryangjin, western Seoul, where many aspiring civil servants and lawyers live in cramped rooms while studying for their tests, said there is an increase in the number of younger people seeking older phones.

“One out of five of customers in their 20s who look like prospective test takers asks about outdated cell phones,” said Kang Shin-woong, who sells phones in the neighborhood.



BY CHO HYE-KYUNG [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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