If you are committing to study 12 hours a day and you sleep between seven to eight hours a day that will leave you around four to five hours of breaks. This break includes time for food, fun, going out, exercises, and breaks between your study period. So you have to be very committed to your study schedule and have a detailed look at every moment you spend throughout your day.
In this post, I will share a few tips on how you can study 12 hours a day without burning out.
Reduce wake-up to chair time
The wake-up to chair time is the period between the moment you open your eyes till when you start studying. For some students, this period might be half an hour, for others, it might be an hour or two hours.
You have to minimize the time spent from the moment you open your eyes till you sit on the chair to start studying as this is wasted time and you are not doing anything productive during that time. If you transition the two to three hours of that period into the time for studying or breaks, that will be more productive.
Reducing your wake-up to chair time may not occur overnight. If your wake-up to chair time is two hours on the first day of studying, try to decrease it to an hour and a half the next day, after a week or two weeks try to decrease it to one hour until you get to around 20 to 30 minutes.
If the wake-up to chair time for you is long, try to analyze where that time is spent. It might be challenging to get up immediately after you wake up but try to motivate yourself by letting yourself know that if you get up right away after a minute or two after waking up, you can transition the remaining time to study or go out with friends and have fun.
Keep track of the time you spend from the moment you get up until you sit on the chair. Take note of the time you spend washing your face, brushing your teeth, making a cup of coffee, and try to minimize that time as much as possible.
Choose a convenient study technique
After you minimize the wake-up to chair time, you have to focus on your actual study time. There are so many studying techniques which you can apply.
Freestyle study technique: You start studying and when you feel bored, you take a break. There is no specific time for the break and then you return to continue studying until you feel bored again then take a break. This cycle repeats itself again and again.
Task-driven study technique: This involves giving yourself a specific task to complete after a certain period of time. For example, you task yourself to finish 10 pages then you take a break for a few minutes before going back to continue. Your breaks would come up only when you are done with the task.
Pomodoro technique: With this technique, you decide the duration of your study time and your break time. There are so many variations of the Pomodoro technique. The ratio between your studying time, the number of breaks, and the length of the break would depend on you.
If you are able to sit for long hours without feeling tired or bored you can study for two or three hours and then take a 10 or 20 minutes break. If you are someone who can get distracted very easily or cannot study for long hours, you can study for half an hour and then take 5 minutes break. You can have more breaks and divide them across the study time.
If you cannot stay focused for long hours, definitely take breaks but make them short. Taking very long breaks between your studying times would make it harder to get back to the mood of studying and to the line of thoughts that you had before taking the break. Choose a study technique that works for you and stick to it.
Exercise and eat healthy
When you are planning to study for 12 hours a day, it is highly recommended that you eat healthily, avoid heavy meals and avoid meals with high sugar and fat. You can also use your breaks in between studying to eat, socialize, watch a movie and have fun.
It is also very important to exercise and stay healthy when you are studying for exams. Studying for 12 hours a day should not prevent you from doing anything other than studying. You have to exercise to stay healthy. Exercising helps change the environment, and the mood and helps you stay refreshed. If exercise is something you enjoy, it would be something to look forward to when you are studying. Avoid doing very heavy exercise as it might make you feel tired and you won’t be able to fully focus on your studying afterward
Do not give up your social life
A misunderstanding about studying for long hours is that you have to give up your social life. This is wrong as all you have to do is limit the number of hours you spend it with your friends or family. So instead of going out for four or five hours, you would go out for an hour and a half. This would be enough time for you to change the mood, change the environment and then come back to studying.
However, this requires a very strong will because if you’re having fun and enjoying your time after an hour and a half, you might decide to stay for a few more hours. The hard part is coming back to study. Try to motivate yourself and create a system in which you will be able to come back and study.
Sleep is an extremely important part of you being able to study 12 hours a day consistently. It is possible for you to not sleep for one or two days and still study for a long period of time but after two or three days after, you would burn out and not be able to do that consistently.
The trick of being able to study 12 hours a day consistently for longer time periods is good sleep. Studies have shown that sleep is extremely important for retaining information so if you are looking to keep information in your mind after you study, you need to have good sleep. Studies have also shown that students who were sleep-deprived were not able to retain the information as much as those who slept well.
How to sleep better
- Keep a consistent sleeping schedule.
- Avoid caffeine alcohol or heavy meals before you sleep.
- Keep your room cold and dark.
- Try to use your room only for sleeping so that your mind is conditioned to sleep in that room.
- Avoid using heavy sleeping aids as they can make you feel sleepy the next day.
Studying 12 hours a day is not easy and does not happen overnight. You can start with five hours a day and then go up to six or seven hours afterward. Try to increase it by 20 minutes to half an hour every week then assess how it’s going. If you feel tired and exhausted, you can go back to the previous stage and remain there for about three weeks before increasing it by 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Continuously assess yourself until you reach 12 hours a day. Jumping abruptly from 5 hours or 6 hours to 12 hours a day will lead to burnout and you won’t be able to focus for these long hours.
These are important tips to help you study and stay focused for 12 hours a day without burning out. If you have any tips or advice that can help medical students study for longer time periods consistently, kindly drop them in the comments below.