Here is an interesting clarifying question I got in response to an older article about when to study extra.
I notice that you mentioned you sometimes put extra time into studying. I always thought studying extra was explicitly ruled out in your study strategy. You say that studying too much will ruin the study time’s effectiveness. Is studying extra allowed on your study strategy? When should a person spend extra time studying?
I think my quickest response to your question would be this: You never should study more than your explicitly planned out study time. That doesn’t mean that you should never study more than your explicitly planned out study time. Confusing enough for you? Allow me to elaborate.
When you set your 15 minutes (or your planned specific time period) for studying, you cannot make that dependent on factors related to school. If you have a test tomorrow, that does not mean you should put extra time into studying. If you just got a ton of new study material in class, that doesn’t mean you should put extra time into studying. Absolutely nothing related to class should provoke you to spend more time studying (short of possibly some super crazy and super unusual examples but I’m not going to waste my time with lifeboat scenarios. Assume never.)
You have a study plan. Follow that study plan. If you don’t follow that study plan then you have no logical way of figuring out whether or not your study plan is working. That is the fundamental reason you should be following your study plan. Your study plan will slowly get optimized the more you use it correctly and adjust it. If you never use it correctly then you’ll never get to adjust it. That means it will never be optimized.
Studying extra should be taken with caution. There is absolutely nothing wrong with studying about something you’re genuinely trying to understand. If you’re highly motivated and take pleasure from the studying process then studying more may slightly harm your overall routine but, since it’s for pleasure, it’s generally worth it. Here is where the caution comes in.
9 out of 10 “good” students that hear that will hear that and just say they’re genuinely curious as an excuse to never properly follow their study plan. That means the study plan never gets utilized or optimized making those students have to study dramatically more than other students for equal results.
If you’re telling yourself that you’re genuinely curious about 3 or 4 subjects then I’d be very suspicious that it’s just an excuse to try to get into a work hard not smart study strategy. (People get emotionally attached to the long boring study routines for a number of reasons that I’ve gone over before.)
For more specific information on why binge studying sucks you should read this article: The Unfortunate Truth About Study Time
Studying extra should only be done when it’s meant for pleasure. At that point, it wouldn’t even hurt to stop referring to it as studying. If you never study extra then that should not harm your results with the 15 Minute Study Strategy. If you only study extra for pleasure then that shouldn’t harm your results. If you study for hours and pretend it’s for pleasure when you’d rather be doing something else, your results will suffer.
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