One of the widespread struggles of students is to maintain focus while studying for long hours. Many research does suggest that studying for more extended periods may hamper our productivity, but there are times when you have to do it anyway. Keeping focus and maintaining the same level of attention is difficult but not entirely impossible.
In this article, We will take a deep dive into how to study for a long time and maintain efficiency throughout the study period.
Taking good rest before starting study sessions
One of the main impediments to a productive study session is a lack of rest and sleep. Students who lack 7-9 hours of sleep daily are more likely to have difficulties concentrating. A good sleep clears our thought process of the brain. It also helps in improving cognitive performance and alertness. Students who want to study for a long time should get a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes long school/college hours might physically and mentally drain students. It is best if they avoid studying after these exhausting hours. Take a power nap and reset their energy; then get back to a practical study session.
Create the perfect study environment.
Creating a perfect study environment may take only 5-10 minutes. But this improves the overall efficiency and quality of the study sessions. Studying in a messy study environment will cause more distractions.
A perfect study environment should have the following:
- A good location
- Suitable Lighting
- Appropriate Temperature
- Noise reduction
- Distraction Elimination
- Perfect Organization
- Easy access to things
- Inspiration and Motivation
Use the Pomodoro Technique
There are many controversies if you should use the Pomodoro Technique for studying for long hours or not. But in my opinion, Pomodoro Technique is vital for studying long hours.
The Pomodoro Technique is a learning technique introduced by Francesco Cirillo in the ’80s. This technique is one of the most efficient learning techniques to date.
This is how to do the Pomodoro Technique:
- Step 1: Start a task and work on it for 25 minutes.
- Step 2: Take a 5-minute break
- Step 3: After the break, start another session for 25 minutes.
- Step 4: After 3-4 25-minute sessions, take a more extended break.
You can tweak the break and Pomodoro session timing according to your wish and need.
The reason why the Pomodoro technique works :
Humans can remain focused for only up to 40 minutes at a stretch. This technique helps you to use your complete attention span for practical use.
The effect of primacy: We tend to remember the things we read/ study in the beginning more. Pomodoro technique helps to create more such beginnings.
The effect of recency: We also tend to remember the things we read/study in the end more. Pomodoro Technique helps to create more such endings. It helps to break the task into smaller sessions.
Study Different Subjects
The reason students feel so drained before an exam is because they have to study the same subject the whole week. When you are learning the same topic for a long time, you are bound to get distracted and bored.
Studies have shown that it is much more effective to study multiple subjects each day to stay focused than diving into a single topic. So even while studying long hours, students should divide the time between different subjects. This habit will help to keep the interest and enthusiasm.
Fighting the Wandering mind
A widespread phenomenon while studying is the internal distractions we face. When we sit down to study, all the irrelevant thoughts pop up in our minds. Fighting the wandering mind is essential if you want to study for a long time.
Take a notepad and pen with you. Whenever you have any entirely irrelevant thoughts, write them down in your notepad. Some of the thoughts might be important, and some may be nothing more than mere fantasy. Do not resist any thought. Write them all down, no matter how silly or irrelevant they are. This will ease your mind of the internal distractions and help you to focus in your long study sessions.
Take productive breaks
Breaks are essential for studying long hours. But they can become a necessary evil. Although these breaks can give you the mental ease you need, they can also be distracting.
Things not to do in your breaks:
- Checking your phone
- Calling your friends
- Turning on the TV
- Replying to messages
- Checking on your siblings
- Studying or revising
- Checking how much of the syllabus you have left
- Lying in your bed
Things to do in your breaks:
- Have short walk
- Do some stretching. After long hours, this will be really necessary.
- Take some snacks
- Make a coffee/tea
- Do breathing exercise
As you see, there are so many things that you should not do that can cause distraction and hamper your study sessions. Try to avoid these and follow the latter.
Eat well to study for a long time.
Food will provide you with the necessary energy for studying long hours. If you are starving, you probably will not be fit for studying with total concentration. Ensure to start the study sessions with a full stomach (at least not a starving one).
It is best to eat low glycemic index foods. (examples – oats, porridge, granola bars, yogurt with seeds, soups ) These foods release glucose to the blood slowly. So they maintain energy levels for a longer period.
High Gi foods have an opposite effect. You should make sure not to take these before long study sessions.
- Potato Chips
- Ice cream etc.
Make your study sessions enjoyable.
One of the ways you can make study sessions long and exciting is by gamification. Try to make your study much more interesting. Studies have shown that non pleasurable tasks drain our energy much more faster
You can even try using apps like Quizlet. Quizlet helps you to make study enjoyable by making flashcards, interactive games, tests, and more. It also has a feature to share your set of questions with your friends to compare your skills in a definite topic. It can make your study a lot more exciting and thrilling. There are also many other similar apps you can check here.
Gamifying your lessons will help you remove monotony. What was once dull will now be an excellent pastime for you.
One reason why our brain fails to focus for a considerable amount of time can be dehydration. Researchers at the University of East London found that our brain’s overall mental processing power decreases when you’re dehydrated. Further research has shown that dehydration even causes grey matter in your brain to shrink.
So remember to keep a bottle of glass at your desk. Make sure you are keeping yourself hydrated during long study sessions. This action will keep your brain alert and active at all times.
Studying for long hours may sometimes be necessary, but they are not always beneficial. Never push yourself to study too much because quantity doesn’t always mean quality. Try to focus on improving the quality of your study sessions. Use the advice mentioned above in your study sessions to make them more effective and productive.
Here are the 9 ways to study for a long time: