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One Simple trick that doubles the effectiveness of studying, using half the time.

 In Stress Less Tutoring - Blogs

All too often people are told that the way to improve is to try *harder*. While this is important, we often forget that hard work without direction can be oftentimes fruitless.

In this case, I’ll be addressing how to study more effectively and it all has to do with how you utilise your time.

In my experience, the vast majority of students who begin studying do so in the following order:

  1. Have a surge of motivation to study, usually due to the stress of realising the test or assignment is due soon
  2. Move the clutter of the area where they study and set up their laptop, pens, and paper and maybe have a drink at the ready
  3. Look at the assignment or study topic for a while until YouTube becomes the more interesting option.
  4. 2 hours pass from the YouTube binge, and they begin to freak out from the stress of not having done much at all.

This first example is a classic case of procrastination, something almost everyone has experienced at one point or another. This is clearly one of the worst ways to study as it lacks…well, any actual studying.

The second example can be seen in the image below where a student sits down and just tries to force themselves to work through the content as much as possible.

Starts strong, but ultimately the benefits of studying drop off fairly quickly

Now clearly this is the better of the 2 examples, given that some work was completed. But what if there were ways more effective than simply working non-stop.

The Pomodoro Technique is the golden ticket to better studying.

Pomodoro essentially boils down to studying in increments with time set aside for breaks. I know it sounds simple, but check the heading of this post.

As an example, you would study like you were doing circuit training:

  • 3 rounds of studying at 25 minutes each with 10 min breaks between them

What was previously a study session that only got worse the longer it went on, breaking up that same session involves a much higher level of focus and engagement as seen in the image below

Each study session becomes quality over quantity, requiring less overall study time.

This technique helps both examples of bad study habits in the following ways:

  1. Helps against procrastination since your brain can quantify exactly how much time it will need to focus for.
  2. Just like taking a break with exercise, gives the brain a chance to take a mental breather and let some of the information that you’ve been studying mellow.

So next time you are looking to sit down and study, it might be a good idea to give your brain the rest it deserves when it’s earnt it. It might just be the difference between you freaking out last minute, or feeling like you have control.

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