Choosing the Best Time to Study

Ericka was tired and the last thing she wanted to do was study, but she had a test in the morning and could not remember any of the information she would need. She sat down at her desk and pulled out her notes to start studying. An hour later, her head was on her desk and she was fast asleep. Needless to say, she failed her test the next day. Ericka had not chosen the best time to study.

When it comes to studying, you must keep two things in mind:

  1. Study when you are wide awake
  2. Do not wait until the night before the exam to study

When to Study

The time of day you choose to study is important. Ericka chose to study in the evening and, as a result, was too tired to get much studying done. Choose a time of day when you are wide awake and when you will not feel rushed. If you are a morning person, try to study in the morning before you go to school. If you always feel like falling asleep right after dinner, try studying before dinner.

Even if you do not have a test coming up, you should make studying a priority. Ericka did not make studying a priority and, as a result, she had to try and cram a lot of information into her brain at once. Once you determine the best time of day for studying, choose a time and try to study during that time at least a little every day. By studying on a daily basis, you increase your chances of remembering the information in your notes, so you do not have to panic and try to cram right before an exam.

How Long to Study

In addition to being tired, Ericka’s problem was that she tried to study too long without a break. To keep your brain sharp, you should study for shorter time periods and take regular breaks. Try studying for 20-30 minutes, then getting up to go for a walk, make a snack or call a friend. Set a timer for five to ten minutes and then get back to work. Taking regular breaks will give you time to internalize the information you have studied and give you more energy to get the rest of your studying done.

You do not have to study for hours every day. If you do not have a test coming up in a subject, just take ten minutes to review your notes, then move on to something else. Once you start to study regularly at your ideal time of day, you will find that studying will become less of a chore.

Suggested Activities
  1. Pretend you are a friend of Ericka’s and write a letter offering her advice on how to improve her study plan.
  2. Write out a schedule for studying to make sure you regularly review your notes for each subject.
  3. Create a list of short activities or exercises you can do while taking a study break.

Discussion Questions
  1. When do you usually study? Should you be studying at a different time?
  2. Have you ever studied like Ericka, waiting until the night before a test? What was the result?
  3. What is your ideal studying time?
  4. How much time should set aside for studying each day?