It’s interesting how parents and teachers measure your level of exam preparedness by the number of study hours you put in. However, in recent years, due to the increased use and prevalence of the internet and the distractions that come with it, calculating your actual study hours correctly can be a revelation. Whether it’s checking your Social-Media Timeline, Celebrity Blogs, Google Chat, and any other distracting website or app you can imagine, it all eats into your actual productive study hours.
Calculating Your Actual Study Hours: Time You Faced the Truth!
All of us have different attention spans and different levels of endurance. I, for one, never could do more than an hour of study at a stretch (forty minutes, if we are talking Organic Chemistry). I know you all can relate when I say that that one hour is not exactly one hour of study when you have your cell phone by your side. In the times such as we live in, novel and innovative ways of distraction present themselves every day. Hence, it’s critical that we focus on how much time we actually spend on grasping information and putting the newly learned concepts to test.
Factually, an average student never does more than forty minutes of study. There are always distractions like the attention craving cell phone, a grumbling stomach, the evening football match on television, or the plot of your favorite movie running in your head. All of a sudden, the blank wall in front of you seems more interesting than the reservoir of knowledge in front of you. You begin to notice things like odd cracks and crevices that never existed before and an ant scurrying away at a distance. The underside of your chair seems to have sprouted plastic wrapping all of a sudden and there are exactly forty-two tiles in your room.
As spectacular as these revelations may seem, they pose a major hurdle to your studies. Trust me, I’ve been there. Nothing can hurt you more than an overestimation of your progress. Regardless of how many hours you put in, there is no running away from the human attention span. Sitting idle in your chair does not qualify as studying.
For your benefit, I’ve put together some tips that you can follow during your study time. Trust me, if you follow them, you will see a marked improvement in your performance.
Instead of doing a six-hour study session at a stretch, I would advise you to study for many short periods (E.g. Ninety Minutes or so) with short, refreshing breaks in between. Make sure that the breaks that do not involve straining your eyes like video games or YouTube. My choice for unwinding was half an hour of Pink Floyd.
- Factor in for ‘Lapse in Concentration’
Keep in mind that for each hour you study, you lose at least ten minutes to letting your mind wander off. So six study hours at a stretch actually amounts to five hours. Calculating actual study hours can get really tricky as it varies from person to person.
- Keep Distractions at bay
I understand it’s hard to stay away from your cell phone, but you must put your phone away and keep the television switched off when you’re studying. Focus on the text in front of you. No one likes to study everything, but I have news for you – you have no choice!
- Make a Time-Table
Design a timetable that’s realistic and stick to it. Allocate appropriate time to important subjects and your areas of improvement. Remember, an accurate self-assessment is just as important as everything else.
- Don’t be a Perfectionist
Trying to be a perfect person sets you up for defeat. Nobody can be perfect. Just make sure that you don’t avoid or procrastinate important tasks. Set achievable goals, but they should also be challenging.
- Take frequent breaks
Remember your brain needs to cool down after a strenuous study session. Don’t torture yourself incessantly and take a short nap of 20 minutes in between your study sessions, or do a fun activity or exercise to re-charge your batteries for the next study session.
- Learn to Say No
A movie buff friend wants to see that latest Sci-Fi movie. You hate saying no but the plan is disturbing your study schedule. Even though you hate turning people down, Trust me, sometimes you have to keep yourself first. Know your priorities and politely say no. Making this a habit will go a long way in serving your best interests in future.
I hope you found this article informative and useful. Apply the suggestions and use the tips to correctly calculate your actual study hours. The trick is to make each tick of that clock actually count!
Making your time count is actually an exercise in developing concentration. Read our guide to improving your focus here.