5 Common Myths About Studying That Are Ruining Your Productivity
This is a guest post from blogger Moinul. Keep reading to learn about and debunk 5 study myths and learn how to become a more effective student!
Since childhood, you may have heard various pieces of “advice” about studying that are– in truth– meaningless and irrational. These ideas have become urban legends that most people believe. But rather than following these tips mindlessly, let’s closely study some common study myths and how to overcome them in this post.
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Myth #1: I have to stay up all night every night before my tests.
“I don’t need to sleep,” to put it another way. You only need to study, study, study. Make a machine out of yourself. The issue with this strategy is that it overlooks the need for sleep for the brain.
Sleep can help us learn, consolidate new memories, improve memory and recall, and overall improve our health and cognitive abilities. Sleep deprivation, according to Stanley Coren, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, can weaken your brain, negatively affect your focus, slow down the learning process, and even temporarily lower IQ.
Rather than staying up all night, try the following:
Concentrate on the most difficult material early.
In other words, eat the frog, and do it early. Working early in the morning allows your brain to focus entirely on the task at hand, with fewer interruptions. Early in the day, you also deplete your willpower reserves, which is crucial because you have greater willpower earlier in the day.
Extend the time your brain is operating at peak efficiency.
Within the first four hours of waking up, it occurs. This is the time when your brain can focus on analytical thinking, which requires the most concentration. This includes reading, writing, coding, analyzing, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Make certain you get adequate sleep.
This corresponds to 7–8 hours for teenagers. If you only have 5-6 hours, take a power nap, like Einstein and Churchill recommended, to increase your brain capacity. It doesn’t have to be long– 20 minutes is a good starting point. Take a nap before 3 p.m. to avoid disturbing your sleep schedule.
RELATED POST: 7 Brilliant Tips To Wake Up Early In The Morning
Myth #2: I have to sit at my desk all day, every day, and study.
There’s nothing left to do but pore over the books one by one when it comes to exams. As if it were a prison cell, treat my bedroom as such. Get out of bed only to use the bathroom and eat lunch and dinner. Worry excessively. There is anxiety and stress prevalent.
The problem with this way of thinking is that we set unreasonable goals for our brain. It must function flawlessly and maintain a laser-like focus at all times. Otherwise, it’s the end of the game. Failure is approaching. Exams will have to be retaken.
Do the following to better manage your time:
Use timeblocks to divide your day.
Plan ahead (preferably the night before or the morning of) to dedicate chunks of time to certain tasks. Make the most of the time you have to read, take notes, finish assignments, and write essays or school projects.
Do brief burst sessions to prepare for exams.
If you’re studying for an exam, use the review questions from the textbook or from your lecturer. Then, to give yourself a short amount of time to answer each question, use the Pomodoro method to prepare for the exam (25-minute work periods followed by 5-minute breaks).
Don’t forget to take a break when you need it.
Get away from your workplace to boost your memory. Are you familiar with the Zeigarnik effect? It’s a psychology theory that says we remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed ones. Choose non-work-related activities to perform during your break, such as reading a few pages of a book, exercising briefly, running an errand, cleaning your room, cooking lunch or a snack, or listening to uplifting music to improve your mood.
Myth #3: The only way I’ll learn is to read my textbook over and over again.
I’m not sure about you, but college texts appeared extremely heavy to me. They were tiresome to read and seemed to go on indefinitely. It’s preferable to take notes to describe what you’re reading rather than skimming through the book numerous times.
Taking notes is one of the most successful learning techniques I’ve developed over the years. It improves my critical thinking skills, assists me in recalling information more quickly, increases the efficiency of my learning, and allows my brain to focus on the most important aspects of the study material.
Follow these steps to master note-taking:
- Make sections for notes, prompts, and a summary on each page of your notebook. The Cornell Method of taking notes is a terrific way to visually break down what you’re writing so you don’t end up writing paragraph after paragraph.
- Make a list of all the things you’d like to say. Each line item or bullet represents an essential concept, idea, or concern. Writing in a list format saves time, allowing you to skim over the material, makes it quicker to find information, and makes the review process easier.
- Don’t just stick to black and white. Use multi-colored pens, markers, or highlighters to order the words on each page to emphasize the most important areas. Use particular colors to emphasize top-level concepts, and different colors to indicate second-level priorities such as examples, additional information, or any questions you may have about what you learned.
Make sure to check out this post for more tips on taking better notes!
Myth #4: You’ll be studying all of your free time.
As previously stated, studying is more about the process than it is about the amount of time spent doing so. Knowing what works best for people in terms of learning, such as flashcards or practice tests, allows them to maximize their time. You can learn just as much in two hours as you can in four if you use those two hours as efficiently as possible.
Here’s how to study more in less time instead of spending all of your time studying:
- Follow the 80/20 rule: Don’t try to learn everything at once. You’ll be left with nothing in your head. Try to focus on the most important information, specifically the top 20% of the information.
- Eat the frog: Start with the most difficult and complicated lectures. Don’t waste your time with the simple ones. Finish the more difficult ones first, then go on to the less difficult ones.
- Continue to make mind maps: Mind maps are excellent tools for absorbing a large quantity of knowledge in a short amount of time. Make use of mind maps as much as possible.
- If you’re having trouble understanding a lecture, ask a friend to demonstrate the material to you. This can sometimes be more effective than giving a lecture.
Myth #5: “It’s expensive to study because I have to buy books and materials.”
Although studying can be pricey, think of it as an investment. It leads to improved job opportunities, professional progress, and personal advancement. Although it is not a monetary investment, it will have a significant impact on your future. What would you do if you were prosperous and successful today but lost everything the next day? So, if you were in this circumstance, what would you do? If you have the essential information, you can start from scratch.
Rather than spending a lot of money on high-priced books,
- Use PDF books, which are much cheaper and often even free on numerous websites.
- Study with your friends and take use of free apps that do not require a monthly membership.
Check out PDFelement to easily annotate your PDFs and take better notes!
Bringing things to a close
Instead of succumbing to these study fallacies, you should break free from your bubble and confront these challenges. You are capable of far more than you believe. Believe in yourself, and all of your difficulties will seem smaller than they are. I hope that some of these myths have opened your eyes and given you fresh perspectives.
About the author
Hello, I am a 4th-year medical student studying at Dhaka Medical College, Bangladesh.
I share study hacks, productivity tips, personal growth tips which have really helped me in my life to become a happier and efficient person. I love to teach students what I learned so that every student can maximize their potential and find the ultimate road to success in life.
My official website: moinulkarim.com