I sympathize with this week’s question. Sometimes those that care about you end up becoming a huge impedance on your ability to study effectively.
I’ve been trying to implement a short study routine but my parents don’t seem to get it. They insist that I study at least an hour a night. From some of the things you write, I get the impression that will do more harm than good. What can I do to get them off my back?
The study strategies recommended on this blog tend to not gel too well with the traditional approach to studying. It’s completely understandable that some people won’t understand their value. (I wouldn’t believe some of these strategies if I didn’t experience the effects myself.) One of the most controversial is the value of super short study sessions.
Studying for an hour a night would likely hurt the efficiency of your studying. Lower efficiency doesn’t mean you won’t learn more studying longer though. In this situation, it may be worth considering just giving in and studying longer. Sometimes solving a problem like this is more trouble than it’s worth. That being said, there are some simple ways to do what they say while still increasing your efficiency dramatically.
If possible, turn that one hour of studying they want into 2 or 3 study sessions each night. One of the reasons short study sessions are so valuable is that you’re getting as much high efficiency studying as possible. The longer you’re studying without a break, the less you’ll be learning with your time.
When you break your hour of studying into multiple sessions you get breaks in between short sessions of studying. With the break you can expect to return to high efficiency studying for your next short session.
It’s very possible this routine could help you learn more than the traditional routine I recommend. The reason I don’t recommend it is that it can be mentally taxing to follow through with. Forcing yourself to get up and study 3 times a night takes way more discipline than just once a night. Most people just won’t follow through with it. (If your parents are really on your back about it then they might even help you stick with this plan.)
Cutting To One
I’m not going to recommend lying to solve this problem but I’m sure you already know it’s an option.
You could sit for an hour as if you’re studying but only actually study 15 minutes. You could study away from home and do the same thing. There are tons of ways to lie your way around these restrictions. Most of the time, it’s just not worth it.
There will always be limiting factors in your ability to study at a high efficiency. In high school, that limiting factor may be your parents. In college it may be your roommate. If you get a job and want to do a little studying then you’ll still have tons of interruptions from your studying. It’s a part of life.
There is no way to get your study routine into a perfectly efficient position. (In fact, accepting that there is a perfectly efficient position is a mistake. There is always a better way.) Just do the best you can to get it as close as you can get it comfortably. If your parents insist on an hour of studying then it’s usually easiest just to give in and do it. If you do it right then it would barely hurt anything academically. In fact, adjust your strategy right and it might just help.
Maybe She Won’t Notice
D’s eyes were watering at the score on the screen.
He was thinking, “Is this what I am now?”
The score was low. Lower than he liked to think about – and way lower than he used to get.
He was just hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask. He always hated telling her and it killed him worse to lie about it. It’s his mother… she wants what’s best for him and he knew he was screwing it up.
Staring at the score it hit him…
This has to change. On the next test, coming up in 3 weeks, he was going to make up for it. He was going to score high.
So… he studied. He studied for hours that night. He studied until his eyes were closing involuntarily.
The next day… he studied for hours.
And the day after that… he did it again.
But the day after that – his best friend was going through a bit of a crisis. So… he took the day off studying. I mean, no one needs to study hundreds of hours for a test, and he was doing well so far.
But the next day… he was exhausted. And, you know, exhausted studying doesn’t work. So he missed that day to.
The day after, he squeezed in some studying.
And… I think you know how this story goes…
The night before the test, he’s staring down at his study guide and cursing to himself.
It happened… again…
That night he buckled down and studied almost all night. (Until he virtually crashed at 3 am.) Every time he started dozing off earlier he’d get a snack or drink and keep on plugging. He worked. And he worked hard.
He even had moments where it felt like he was running better than ever. He felt like he was going to pull it off.
The test was the next afternoon.
And I’d like to say he knocked it out of the park and D saved himself with his last ditch effort to save his grade but…
I can’t say that.
Sure… D didn’t bomb completely.
But when he was staring down at his score… he was tearing up again. And he still was hoping that his mother wouldn’t ask him about it…
It’s not a number on a piece of paper.
I know… it can help reduce your stress to think that way, and there is a place for that.
But your future, your position in the world, is partially decided by these numbers on these papers. We all know it.
We all want to put ourselves in the best position possible – and these scores can do that for us.
And D knew it.
If you know it then join us.
D is kicking butt it this semester – more importantly, he’s doing it without procrastination rearing its ugly head.
If you’re ready to take your academic game to the next level – if you want to see it for yourself.
We’ll also send you some awesome freebies.
Write your email in the box. Check the confirmation you want emails. Confirm your email. And see for yourself.