You've Got the Time

  1. Attend class! This is your prime learning time.
  1. Go over lecture notes within 24 hours of each class. Doing this the same day starts moving the lecture content into your long-term memory.
  1. Allot two hours of study each week for each hour of class time. That is for a grade of “C.”  “A’s” and “B’s” may require more time. (4-hour class multiplied by 2 hours of studying = 8 hours of study time outside of class to aim for a “C.”)
  1. Study each subject every day at the same time, if possible. Your body and brain will get in the habit and be ready.
  1. Plan study sessions of 45-50 minutes, maximum. That is all the brain wants to absorb at one time. Long sessions are non-productive; you’ll retain only the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes of your study.
  1. Take a break of 10-15 minutes, minimum, between study sessions. This lets the brain process information. Don’t read anything during that time; physical activity is good as it helps to relax the brain and gets your blood and oxygen flowing.
  1. Start with your hardest subject. The rest of your day will have less tension. Many students like to get up early and get the toughest course studied before they leave home in the mornings.
  1. Alternate subjects with different brain activities. Follow a reading subject with math. If you are staying on the same subject, follow reading with reciting, summarizing, answering questions, or making memory cues. Your brain doesn’t want to read all day long. It takes time to store information into memory.
  1. Make notes of where you want to begin and what you want to review the next session. You won’t waste time finding where you left off. Save the notes for reviewing before tests.
  1. Reschedule study time if an emergency causes you to get off schedule. That time can be broken up into little chunks throughout the coming days. You can learn facts in just a few minutes.
  1. Review what you’ve already learned in short sessions daily. Frequent reviews keep facts in your memory. This is in addition to learning new content in your daily study sessions.
  1. Summarize your toughest subject about 30 minutes before bedtime. Your brain will process, consolidate and start moving the information into your long term memory while you sleep.
  1. Schedule time for yourself, family and friends. You will know the fun times are coming. This prevents burnout.
  1. Allow a few weeks for your good habits to become automatic. If you stick to it, it will happen.
  1. Do you remember the stories “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Little Engine That Could”? A positive attitude and working slowly and steadily get results. Don’t give up.