Studying 30 minutes every day from Monday through Friday equals 2.5 hours. Right?
Well, that depends on what you mean by “equals”.
If you care about actual TIME, then then yes, those five study periods do equal 2.5 hours.
However, if you care about QUALITY and EFFECTIVENESS of the studying, then answer would be no. The five 30-minute periods are greater.
One of the pillars of the study plan I espouse to the engineers I mentor is that they should touch the material for each of their classes every day. Having this continuous flow of information allows your brain to really absorb it.
However, while I “knew” this to be true based on how effectively it was for me personally and then for the engineers that used it upon my suggestion, I never had specific research that I could point to for support.
However, last night I was watching a show called The Twinstitute where they use twins to test various hypotheses regarding human behavior and capabilities. I was really excited to see that one of the things they were testing was whether ones recall varied based on their study habits.
They gave one group 30 minutes for several days to study and the second group an equal amount of time on a single day prior to the exam. Both groups were then brought in to answer questions about the material on the final day.
So who did better?
The group that studied the material over several days, performed 40% better than the group that studied the material over a single period. The reasoning for this has to do with the way our brain stores the information for short term memory versus longer term memory storage.
Does this mean it works for everyone or that everyone will see a 40% improvement using one method over the other? Perhaps not, but I was very intrigued to see them put to test a study that I have long felt was true and that my own empirical evidence supported as well.
At the very least, this testing shows that it is worthwhile to take some time to figure out what works best for you. Don’t make the assumption that it is all equal.
Have you found this to be true in your studying? Let me know what system you have used for success.
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