ACADEMIC TIPS: How to study (when, where and how long)
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NB: This post was shared by Michael Chuks, a student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
This page will show you how to study. In trying to do that, it will answer three major questions;
- When is the best time to study?
- Where should you study?
- How long should you study?
The right answers to those questions will boost your productivity, allowing you to squeeze more work out of even less time. The wrong answers will slow you down and make this process more difficult than it needs to be.
RECOMMENDED: This UNN graduate story will surely motivate you.
QUESTION 1: When is the best time to study?
The morning and afternoon are crowded. Classes, meals, meetings, and other activities take over these hours, leaving few continuous periods for really settling in and getting things done.
Night, on the other hand, seems like one long, uninterrupted stretch of good work time. Right? Wrong!
First, nighttime is not as long as you think. By the time you finish dinner, gather your materials, and finally begin your work, you really have only a few hours left before it becomes too late and your desire to sleep hijacks your concentration.
Second, nighttime is not as free as you think. It’s prime time. Inevitably some can’t-miss TV show nags for your attention, or the loud music of a party down the hall beckons seductively.
Night is when people most want to socialize. You see movies at night. People gather back at their dorm rooms to gossip and distract each other (those in hostel understand). Few among us have achieved the required level of nerd-dom necessary to resist such temptations—and we shouldn’t have to.
Finally, nighttime is when your body begins to wind down. After a long day of activity, it’s ready to begin a slow descent into sleep. Even before it gets late, the energy available to your mind has already declined. By 7:00 or 8:00 P.M., your focus is weak at best.
For these reasons, you must minimize the amount of work you do after dinner. At the same time, however, it’s true that working during the day can also be complicated.
As mentioned, there are few continuous stretches of free time in the morning and afternoon.
Don’t fear this fractured schedule. Bring your materials with you throughout the day, and fill in any small patches of free time with productive work. most times I try to take a book I need to read along with me all the time, in case some free time pops up while I’m doing something else.
If you follow this approach, you’ll be surprised at the amount of work you can squeeze into your hectic daytime schedule. The trick is to be efficient.
If you have an hour in between classes, head straight from the first class to a library, or similar study location, near the second class.
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Mentally prepare yourself on the way over so that when you hit the study spot you can become productive within seconds.
Also, be sure to avoid your dorm room or other public places as much as possible during the day. You need to separate your work mind-set from your relaxation mind-set.
By hanging around your room, or the student center, you are much more likely to become distracted and let a potentially productive work period slip away at the expense of a mundane conversation.
Become a ghost during the day. Like an academic ninja, slip from hidden study spot to hidden study spot, leaving only an eerie trail of completed work behind you( my friends can testify).
QUESTION2: Where should you study?
NOTE: This particular session is not applicable to everyone, is mainly for those easily distracted when reading and those wanting to try new pattern, If u are comfortable with the method u are using then this part is probably not for u.
ANSWER: In isolation (mainly for those who stays in Hostels).
Identify a number of isolated study spots spread out across campus and rotate through these hidden locations when you study.
Any place in your dorm or house is off-limits if your roommate(s) always distract u, as are the big public study spaces in your main library. This atmosphere is not conducive to concentration.
Look for less-visited libraries away from the center of campus, and search out carrels high up in the stacks or buried down in the basement.
Always keep your eyes open for the next great hidden study spot—small libraries in the buildings of student organizations, a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, or the local public library are all potential concentration gold mines.
You need multiple locations for two reasons.
First, as you move through your day, squeezing in study sessions between classes, it’s nice to always know of a nearby study spot.
Second, changing locations prevents you from burning out at any one place. The isolation of these spots is important for the obvious reason: It shields you from distraction.
That little procrastination devil on your shoulder is an incredible salesman. If you give him even a glimpse of an alternative to your work, then he will close the deal.
To neutralize this devil, isolate him. Don’t let him see your couch, the cute girls tossing Frisbees on the quad, or your friends chatting in your dorm room lounge.
If you cut yourself off from the outside world during your work hours, then you have a muchb etter chance of completing what needs to get done, and, as an added bonus, the resulting increase in concentration will help you get your work done faster.
QUESTION3: How long should you study?
ANSWER: Not more than one hour at a time without a break.
Your break needs to be only five to ten minutes, but it’s important that you take an intellectual breather during this period.
This means you should find something you can concentrate on, for just a few minutes, which has nothing to do with the work you were completing right before the break.
Read a newspaper article or send a few e-mails. That should be enough.
This disengagement helps refresh your mind and facilitates the process of finding new angles and insights when you begin your work again.
Some students brought a novel or newspaper with them, and then read a chapter or an article at every break.
Others chose a project for the day—perhaps writing a long e-mail to a friend they hadn’t seen in ages, or building a list of options for an upcoming vacation—that they could work on bit by bit with each break they took.
Even when you feel like you are on a roll, keep taking regular breaks. Over the long run, it will maximize your energy and retention of the material.
Find new angles and insights when you begin your work again.
Note: Ecclesiastes 2:26
For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight wisdom, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit. We all need Him.
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