As exams approach, students resort to burying themselves in textbooks and spending endless hours studying. Their strategy for exam preparation is poring over textbooks, past papers, and other studying resources for hours on end. This causes many problems: they begin to lose focus, their productivity drops and their ability to retain information suffers. Students believe that the longer their study sessions are, the better.
But is this true?
Studies show that the human mind can only focus for 20-50 minutes, roughly. After 60 minutes, their attention begins to falter and their mind imperceptibly wastes time.
While all of this makes sense, students will wonder how long they should actually study. And if they study for less than an hour at a time, how will they cover the entirety of their syllabus for their final exams?
Here’s how students should manage their study sessions for exam preparation:
- Study in chunks and take regular breaks
The optimal period for studying is 2 hours, broken down in 25-minute study sessions, with 5-minute breaks. This is the best way to maintain focus for most people, but different people have different optimal study periods. Try different times and figure out what works best for you. There are many things you can do for your break, like getting some fresh air and going for a walk, getting something to eat, or just listening to music. Don’t do things that will stress you out more.
- Divide time between subjects
The human mind has a tendency of losing interest in things when it has to focus on them for an extended period of time. Don’t let that happen when you’re studying. If you can, start a new topic or subject daily or after every study session. This will allow you to both complete your syllabus quickly and retain everything that you learn.
- Understand the category of each subject and study accordingly
The subjects you study in high school have different categories. Maths is problem-solving, English is abstract and conceptual. Subjects like Pakistan studies or Islamiyat are memory-dependent subjects. For example, if you’re solving maths past papers on Tuesday, then you should solve English or Pakistan studies past papers on Wednesday.
This will let you make the most of each studying session as every subject requires different things from your brain. This is also why classes are distributed by subjects and students must study multiple subjects for a certain time period daily.