Think about How Often You Want To Study
Some students might want to study in longer chunks. They might want to study once a week for 4 hours and that’s it. Another student might find that it suits them to study 30 minutes a day. Or an hour three times a week. We are all different, so it is finding out what suits you. If you are not sure, come up with an idea, then try it. If it doesn’t work after a couple of weeks, try something else.
How Long to Study
Research suggests that most students can study effectively for 6 – 7 hours a day. This is, of course, not that simple. Studying for 6 – 7 hours all at once will most likely not be effective. You will no doubt get tired, hungry or distracted in some way. It is hard to sit for six or seven hours and solidly focus on your studies.
Other research suggests that studying for one hour then taking a break is the optimal level of studying. It gives us time to really look at the topic we are covering, without us getting bored or distracted.
When thinking how long you will study, take this into account.
- Plan to study in smaller chunks of one hour. Then take a break.
- If you plan to study more than one hour a day. Break it up. Study for one hour, take a break, study for the next hour, take a break and so on.
- Don’t try to sit there solidly for six or seven hours. You may study for that long, but it probably won’t be great studying as you will most likely find it hard to continually study and take in information for that long.
One Question at a Time
Some people do not like to study for a set period of time, they might find other methods more suitable. Depending on the type of course you are doing, you may be able to break your course down into chunks.
How do you eat an elephant ? One bite at a time !!
Which sounds crazy but in reality means simply start and take small bites at your study one bit at a time.
For example, you might decide to study a lesson a week.
Or answer a question a week.
Louise was studying a course in nutrition. At the start of the course, she looked how many questions were in the course. There were 39. She decided to read the relevant notes and answer one question a week, so completed the course in 39 weeks.
Studying on the Fly
Some people might want to study in a different way. They might like to study as and when they can. For example, Jake finds it hard to sit down and study, so he studies when he can. For example, two or three times a week he has to catch the train for 30 minutes. He studies on the train. Sometimes he decides to go to a late night coffee shop and study. Other times, he pops in the library to study. Occasionally, he goes to work half an hour early and sits and studies for that half an hour. He studies when and where he can. He sometimes studies in his lunch break.
Think of all the times you could study, such as –
- Lunch breaks
- Get to work half an hour early
- On the train or bus
- Waiting for kids while they are in an activity
- Get up a bit earlier than normal or go to bed a bit later
This may seem a bit random, but actually it is a form of planning as you are thinking when you can study to fit in with your life.
Shift workers may find it hard to plan their studying because they work different shifts weekly. Earlier, we mentioned about planning on a weekly basis. Why not look at your shifts for the week ahead, then plan your studies around your shifts?
Sometimes you might just be too tired to study. A busy day at work, sorting out children, tidying the house, going to the gym, whatever your reason, it might just be too much to study. If you are tired, you are probably not going to be at your best.
- Study for a shorter period eg. half an hour instead of two hours.
- Leave studying until you feel a bit more awake.
- Take a nap, then do some studying.
Don’t Criticise Yourself
Life sometimes gets in the way. You might feel worn out, be ill, have to go to an unexpected event or meeting, or simply not want to study that day. That is the way life is. If you have not been able to study as planned, do not beat yourself up. Dust yourself off and start again the next time you planned.
Do not try to catch up. Say you had a cold and missed your planned four hours of studying for that week. Don’t try to do eight next week. It puts more pressure on yourself, makes it harder and means you are less likely to catch up as much as you want to. This is when students can start to drop out of courses. They put more and more pressure on themselves to do what they want to do, but it means that it can become too much.
As we said, dust yourself off and start again.
It is important to have a plan for your studies. Whether you plan weeks ahead or only a few days ahead. If you do not have a plan, you may find it hard to keep on track with your studies.
Remember, WHY you want to study, WHAT your goal is and PLAN to keep on track and achieve that goal.
If you are thinking of studying –
- For interest
- To get a new job
- To get a promotion
- To update your knowledge
- To start a new career
- To start a new business
- Or just because you want to
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