The field of education has been in a frenzy ever since a few decades ago. Competition between students has seen a mounting rise, to the extent the bar for acceptable, decent standards has reached ridiculous levels. It is to the extent some students study upwards of 10-12 hours a day, all in a bid to pass their exams with high marks. However, it is well-known that studying for so long brings more harm than good. It is detrimental to one’s health, and a negative correlation is observed between prolonged studying and memory recollection. That is, the longer one spends time studying, the less likely their brain recalls information. This is observed when an individual keeps doing so for a lot of time in one go, without sufficient breaks or rest.
What students need is not time, but technique - methods that would allow them to learn more with less effort. Thus, contained here are five ways a student can up their productivity while reducing the time they spend studying.
Aim For Consistency, Not Perfection
In an age where failure is scorned and being average is frowned upon, people are often backed into a metaphorical corner against their own will. For students, it’s even worse. The pressure from society, parents, and peers sometimes becomes so intense they find it nearly impossible to cope. The fear of failure evolves into an obsession with perfection. This issue is known as perfectionism, wherein individuals grow dissatisfied with themselves or others no matter how much effort they put in, regardless of the results. It is a pernicious problem.
To avoid pushing oneself too hard and studying for long hours, you should try and adhere to a schedule that provides consistent breaks. You can study in periods of 25 minutes spaced by 5-minute breaks in-between. This is known as the Pomodoro Technique. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. Each interval, or study period, in this case, is called a pomodoro, which is tomato in Italian. There is also a variation of the technique that follows four intervals spaced by 20-minute breaks. Use what suits you best.
Act Right After Planning
We often leave the problems of tomorrow to our future selves. This is even more true when we plan something like a routine. To counter that, you should follow a two-fold approach. One, make a schedule within 2 minutes. This way, your brain would forcibly acknowledge the most pressing tasks and put them at the top of the priority list. Then, sort the tasks by arranging them in the order of importance. Also, take note of those things that only require a few minutes to do. Eliminate them first to build confidence and get going. Second, remove all distractions from your environment. This means sitting in a quiet place with nothing to bother you. If you use your phone too much, like most teens do, hand it over to someone or use one of several apps that help reduce surfing time.
Avoid doing more than one thing at a time like the plague. This simply cannot be stressed enough. If you’re studying, then study. If you’re eating, then eat. Extensive research has led to the conclusion that multitasking, in general, reduces attention and leads to poor activity levels. On the other hand, laser-focusing on one task would naturally lead to an increase in efficiency. However, there are exceptions. Recent data suggests tasks that involve creative problem solving may benefit from switching between different things. The nature of your task matters, in the end.
Analyse Old Question Papers
Finding patterns in old question papers enables one to drastically reduce study time by paying attention to the important parts of one’s syllabus while cutting out that which is unnecessary. It is a must while preparing for exams. Analysing questions with similar answers and topics with repeat questions allow one to safely extrapolate sections of the exam paper. It also builds faith in oneself, which would help reduce anxiety.
Perform Steady Revision
Notes are subjective; everyone has their own slightly different way of going about them. However, revision before the exam is necessitated by the need for easy-to-understand material that does not beat around the bush. For such, making flash cards is recommended. They are small bits of paper on which information can be written. Using them to write important points, math formulae, and even dates of certain events can help one to retain information better. The best part is that one can make them at home, and that they can be used anytime, anywhere.
Another point of note is the nature of revision. Studying with flashcards, and learning itself, needs to be done in an efficient way. To that end, you must leave easier subjects you’ve already studied, or one you’re confident in, for later. You must opt to study harder, newer subjects you’ve yet to learn. To keep track of this, you can make use of charts and excel sheets.
Studying smarter is the way to go in today’s and age. Time is of the essence and utilising it to the fullest would ensure you are relaxed and confident in the face of challenges. Every second counts, so make use of it.