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This week’s question is one I picked, not because I have a wonderful answer, but because it’s the kind of question I like to get caught up contemplating about myself. Here is the relevant portion:

I have to pull out my bs detector on that post. There is no way a person can study in as little as 5 minutes. At 15 minutes I had my doubts but it’s ridiculous to think that someone can get any good studying done in that amount of time. Heck, I can’t even pull out my books in 5 minutes.

BS detector must be beeping cause it’s low on battery or something. You might need to get it charged because I tentatively stand by my post (but not necessarily the spin this question put on it.) There are two important things to note first.

First of all, preparation time is not included in the 15 minute study strategy. If it takes you 5 minutes to take out your textbook then you can’t go on pretending that it’s study time. The preparation for studying is all on your time (so for your time’s sake, keep it quick.) Since that was explicitly stated in the post you’re referring to, I’ll assume that was probably just a joke.

Second, I certainly don’t think 99% of students should rely on 5 minute study sessions. I can see some valuable uses for them on a temporary basis (when you’re trying to create a study habit,) but the average study load for most students tends to be more than can be practically achieved in 5 minutes (on average, of course, some folks are rather impressive.)

I get that a 5 minute study session is unbelievable. In fact, I considered referring to the study strategy in this blog as the 10 minute study strategy but figured it would set off too many bs detectors. People would get distracted by the impressively small number. The smartest of students would see the hard to believe number and assume it’s crap. That was one of my main fears in publicizing this strategy.

It is very possible for the skilled practitioners of a good study strategy to get high test scores while studying only 5 minutes a night. I’ve done it myself in short bursts. The fundamental problem with cutting the study sessions so short is the risk of never getting “in the zone” while studying. It sometimes takes a few minutes of focused studying to get your brain fully immersed. The more time you have, the more likely you’ll hit that fully immersed position.

Here is the interesting part for me though: most of those 15 minutes I recommend are really just prep time for ~5 minutes of highly focused studying. The reason you give it that period of time is to find those specially focused moments. I have met students that can seem to get into that highly focused state fast. (I don’t happen to be one of them.)

I wouldn’t say that anyone can reduce their study time down to 5 minutes consistently without notable negative consequences but from what I’ve seen, the crazier thing would be to say it’s completely impossible.

In the meantime, I’m sticking with the 10-15 minutes. It’s long enough to get focused without pushing even close to inefficient lengths of study time.

Do you want to know how to study in less than 15 minutes a night? That’s what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check out the archives for more details. The ebooks in the sidebar can get you started into the nitty gritty details even faster.

Q/A – How Little Studying Is Too Little Studying?


This is an absolutely essential read for anyone on this blog.

We just had to throw out more members from our email list. Sending out these emails are expensive and tossing out the non-participants (lazy bums, don’t tell them I said that,) is our best tool for keeping costs down.

My goal is to help MOTIVATED students improve their grades.

If you’re comfortable with your grades and workload then please don’t sign up – I don’t want to just have to delete your email later.

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  • Improve your scores
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