Study the Science with Science

Close your eyes and image this: the most important exams are coming up. Withing 10 days a piece of paper is going to judge about your future. If you succeed, you are allowed to keep studying and you can live out your dream life. If not, your dream has officially died and you’re worthless. Now you will have to work for the rest of your life in a job you hate. No goals, no options, no nothing.
To make matters worse, your head feels like a jackhammer and you struggle to keep your eyes open. It’s two minutes to midnight and you are done since you have been studying non-stop since this morning. You want to give up but you are afraid what will happen if you do. What if you fail?

Hi, my name is Jan. I am the social media guy of Zerocopy. Last year in the Christmas finals I was exactly in that same s(h)ituation. Not only were my parents putting a lot of pressure on me by threatening me to drop out if I failed, I was being hard on myself as well. I wanted to be the first of my siblings to get his degree. To this day I believe it’s better to be a ‘odd one out’ with a diploma than it is to be somebody who hates their job.
Luckily for me I had friends who know a lot about life and study hacks. One of them saved my life by sending me this video.

STUDT SMARTER, a no-nonsense study method that is scientifically proven

We all know that the most of us don’t have superpowers. We can only lift a certain weight, run at a certain top speed or hold our breaths before our body fails. Our brains are no exception to this. Why do you think people are so adamant about taking study breaks?

Get more from your studytime

Studies from the ’70s have shown that the average person can focus intensely on something for 25 min at a time before his/her mental focus start to weaken. When that person would keep trying to focus on the task, that person would start to make more mistakes, get confused or bored etc.

Knowing this, you have two options…

Option 1

You convince yourself that you are a unique snowflake. You keep on hammering it in until your head starts to spin. You will proudly announce that you are able to study for 13 hours straight solely on willpower, discipline (and snacks). Yet it will not be evident from your report card.

Option 2

You learn how your brain works. You experiment and experience what works for you. You start using this knowledge to your advantage. You start studying 25 minutes (or what works for you) without any distractions, followed by a break of 5 minutes in which you can do what you want. These numbers are scientifically proven, though might vary from person to person. You might feel like you can do more, but ignore that feeling. Doing exams is a marathon, not a sprint. You will get more value from those 50 minutes than you will from a full 60 minutes study sesh.

This study method is called:

This technique has the advantage that it is very concrete, easy to use and will help you a lot. Those finals I told you about earlier? I ended up getting two 16’s, only had to redo the exam for accounting.

The downside of this technique is that you really have to be disciplined. 25 minutes of study time is 25 minutes without phone, music, or internet. Your 5 minute break is exactly 5 minutes. Not 15 minutes. You have to be focused on the task at hand. You can’t let yourself get distracted.

The actual pomodoro technique is a bit more complicated with longer and shorter breaks. It looks like this.


Pomodoro Cyclus

Personally I use three tools to help me:

Moosti – this website tracks time for me. This is useful because I can read the time and can still use my laptop.

Strict Workflow – This Google Chrome extension blocks certain sites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube while I study. This is great for some subjects, but can suck when you need to watch a video of something.

Earplugs – I really need silence to get into that Hustle/study-mode. Having two siblings don’t always help with that. I used to grab a couple at parties and used those. Nowadays I have a box of them which I got from organizing a festival.
Ask if your school has them.

Did this help you? Let me know.

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