Ah, the age old question. “How to study long hours?” How to concentrate on studies for long hours? What can help me sit and study all day? Is it my environment? Can being in a better environment help? What about coffee? Would coffee help? Is it my schedule? Do I have too much on my schedule now? So many questions, and yet, everyone is unique. So, there’s not going to be a one size fits all kind of answer here, which I know is not what you want to hear because you’re just wondering how to study for a long time. You need answers! Nonetheless, I think I can help.
For example, most classes have final exams at the end of their course, right? You know about this throughout the entire course. You’re given ample time to study, but yet, you still are left in a frantic, spending those few days leading up to your test locked in your room, in utter study mode. We have all been there, haven’t we?
How is it so easy for some people to study and for others so hard? How do others know how to study for long hours without getting bored, but I don’t? In this post, we will go over some tips, on how to study for long hours, that will hopefully help improve your study sessions so that you can get the most out of studying.
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Starting with the basics: What is the best time to study?
It is well known that schedules help keep us on track. Even from birth, parents are encouraged to start their kids out on a schedule. That’s right, even right out the womb, typically, babies are put onto feeding and sleeping schedules. Fast forward a few years, and now those same babies are ready for school. Teachers give out schedules, and then suggest schedules to parents. As both a parent and teacher myself, I can wholeheartedly say that the most common question parents ask teachers is ” when is the best time for my child to study?” and “can they study for long hours?” Well, let’s break it down.
- The brain and studying
- It’s said that your brain is the brightest in the morning, right after a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast. This is also why most tests are scheduled for early in the morning. However, if you think about it, would that also mean that a good ole’ early morning study session is your best bet too? Well, it’s not that easy.If you want to review and study something you learned before, then yes. Research suggests that we are more alert and can recall things much easier in the morning. However, if you want to study new information, our brains are actually better at that towards the afternoon. Our concentration seems to be at it’s peak around this time.
- Accepting that everyone is different
- Taking the way our brain works into consideration, it is still safe to say that this is not best for everyone. Everyone is different. We each know ourselves best, and therefore, we know what time of day it is where we feel most productive. For some people, that’s the morning, for others, it’s a night, and for a few, it’s the afternoon. It really just depends. Are you a morning bird or a night owl?
- Day and night pros vs. cons
- Daytime- Now I should go ahead and say, there aren’t really any “pros and cons” of studying during the day or night. This is all based on how you feel. Remember, you know yourself best. However, based on studies preformed by the Oxford learning center, the benefits of morning studying is that your brain is refreshed and ready, the light from outside keeps you awake, you may be able to study in a group or with friends, and typically, studying in the daytime doesn’t affect your sleep schedule.
- Night time- For some, their energy peaks at night. They are done with all they have had to do that day, no more distractions, and now, they can focus on their studies in peace and quiet of night. Also, having little to no distractions can allow for a clearer mind which can stimulate creative thinking and overall, improve your recollection.
Tips for concentrating while studying for a long time
Again, there is no definite answer here. Everyone is different. These are simply just tips for studying long hours and tips for concentrating on studying. They could benefit you, they may not. In the end, you have to listen to yourself and what you think would help you. What helps your friend may not always help you and vice versa.
Create a comfortable environment
- Location is everything. Find a flat, clean surface with outlets nearby, and comfortable seating.
Get rid of all distractions
- Block all distractions. Silence your phone, tablet, and computer before you even begin to study. Social media apps these days can be the worst when it comes to being productive.
Set goals and milestones
- Set easily obtainable goals for you. Maybe place a sticker in your book and say, “okay, once I make it to this page, I will take a walk outside.” For milestones, set a long term goal that will motivate you. Perhaps book a trip somewhere and say “okay, I have to study, and get to this certain point, before I can go on my trip.”
Plan your study sessions
- Organize and have a schedule. When you don’t put “study” on your schedule, it is easy for it to be pushed to the side. Plan ahead and make it a priority.
Study difficult topics in daylight, and easier topics at night
- Since science suggests that our brains are best for learning during the morning and afternoon, plan to study harder topics during this time, and save the easier topics for at night.
Take breaks regularly
- Research shows that studying little by little, and spacing out your sessions, can improve retention. I’d say that’s way better than the ‘one day cram-all’ that you frantically do and then forget the next week.
Practice active learning
- Active learning just means learning through doing. So, for instance, a cooking class. You can read about it and study recipes for days, but the best way to learn is to cook, right? That’s active learning.
Exercise, and maintain physical activity
- It’s said that a healthy body fuels a healthier brain, right? Well, research does, in fact, suggest that regular exercise improves sleep, stress, and anxiety which all impair cognitive function. So, in short, exercise can help you study.
Surround yourself with appropriate sounds
- Again, everyone is different here. Personally, I like white noise while I study, it calms me. Go and find a sound that is soothing to you and try to play that while you study, you may see a difference!
Track your progress
- It is important to know how far you’ve come, and where you may need to improve. Keeping track of your progress can not only motivate you when you’re feeling down, but it can also be a great way of spotting un-healthy patterns in your routine as well.
What to do when you don’t feel like studying
Again, this is also up to you. Like I have said many times already, this is just one of those areas where everyone is unique and different, so there is not one blanket answer I can give. You’ve now learned tips to study for long hours and just what is the best time to study, but how about finding motivation to study? Finding motivation is important for everyone. If you’re feeling unmotivated, think of why you started? What made you study in the first place? Also, remember those goals we talked about earlier, too? Think of those. If you don’t study, it will take you even longer to achieve those goals.
Personally, whenever I am feeling un-motivated and I don’t want to study, I look up motivational quotes on the internet. I don’t know, maybe that’s a little cheesy, but it helps me a lot! For some reason, seeing other people achieve their goals can be a big motivator for myself. Perhaps I’m not the only one, so don’t knock it until you try it.
The Pomodoro technique, ever heard of that? Well, although the name may be a little intimidating, it’s actually quite simple. Here’s a quick formula for you:
- Study for 25 minutes
- Take a 5-10 minute break
- REPEAT X 4
- Take a longer break
Now, this isn’t always the best way, there are dozens of variations of the Pomodoro technique. I encourage you to research it and see which is best for you, and play around with it too so you can see what, personally, the best time for study is as well.
I bet you’re thinking, why now? Why are you telling me this now? Why not earlier in the “tips on studying for a long time” section. Well, here’s why. We are human. Even the title of the last section having “studying for a long time” in it probably turned some people away. Those people may be busy or may just not be that motivated yet. We are human, we have lives outside of studying, and we have our priorities. So, for most of us, small 25 minute study sessions sound way more attractive than an all day one, right? Also, you can customize this schedule however you like. Now, if that’s not motivation enough, then I don’t know what is.
All in all, you need to find what is best for you and go with it. Incorporate some of the tips I’ve mentioned into your study routines and see what works best for you. Concentrating on studying is not easy. Finding the correct time to study, is not easy. Most likely, not all of these tips will be your taste. You may find only some to be helpful, and that’s okay. Why? It’s because everyone is different!