The Bookbyte Blog
Study Smarter, Not Harder
Written by Andrea Waldron
How long do you estimate the average college freshman can read their book/notes and be effectively learning? 4-5 hours? 1 hour? 25 minutes? 5 minutes?
That's the question Marty Lobdell starts his Study Less Study Smart seminar with. According to Lobdell, the prime study time is 25 minutes. After that, you're just wasting your time staring at random strings of words and not retaining any of it.
It's bound to be a frustrating realization for students who want to jump into their study zone without interruption. But giving your brain a break every 25 minutes is an ideal way to hit "refresh."
This style of study is definitely not a new idea. It already has a name, too: The Pomodoro technique. Set a timer (I like this tomator timer) for 25 minutes, then when the timer goes off, reward yourself with five minutes of break time to browse the internet, look at blogs, call a friend, etc. After four rounds of pattern, reward yourself with a 30-minute break.
Lobdell's hour-long seminar is packed with helpful tips. Even if you feel like you've read every possible study technique under the sun, it's a helpful refresher course to get the most out of your study time. Here are some of the highlights:
- Break your studying into chunks. Use the tomato timer to give yourself 25 minutes of study time with five minute breaks in between to refresh your brain.
- Make yourself a designated study area. The bedroom is for sleeping; the kitchen is for eating; the living room is for relaxing. Find a place that is specifically for study, even if it's a local Starbucks or a closet in your house with a light bulb.
- Take better notes. If your teacher talks a mile a minute, write down the jist of what he/she says in class and expand on each point afterwards while it's still fresh in your mind.
- Give yourself cues and triggers for better recognition. Instead of just re-reading your notes, actively quiz yourself or, even better, teach others what you're learning in order to keep yourself from glossing over things.
- Use mnemonics, create acronyms, make up song lyrics about your subject matter. Out-of-the-ordinary associations attached to your studies are more helpful for remembering information than just reading. There's a reason commercial jingles are so memorable!
I definitely recommend watching the entire video. Lobdell delivers the information in helpful anecdotes and examples so it's easy to remember.