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  • Writer's pictureIan Gibbs

Student Tip 6: A Little, Often

In 2003 most of Europe suffered a drought. The temperatures were blisteringly high and the rainfall was pitifully low. The following year saw heavy rainfalls, but surprisingly this didn’t solve the drought. Instead of the water going down into the ground hydrating the dry earth, it just poured across the top of the ground, flooding large areas and eventually running off into the sea.


This happens because the ground needs time to absorb rainfall. It can’t absorb water instantly. It absorbs much more if the rain falls little and often.


Your brain works in the same way. I’m sure you might have already found this out for yourself. If you try to learn lots of stuff in one huge study session, come the next day, you can hardly remember any of it.


Doing a little often is much better than trying to binge and do a major task in one go. Doing five 20-minute sessions of homework (a total of one hour and forty minutes) is much more productive than one 4-hour session. After the first half-hour of concentration, your brain starts to get tired. It becomes harder to think clearly and remember stuff.


Studying for shorter amounts of time guarantees your mind is fresh and responsive.


By doing just 20 minutes of homework wherever you can, you’ll be making sure you’re not wasting your time by trying to learn too much stuff in one go.


You’ll be surprised at how much you can do at lunchtime or break time if you can find a quite place to work.


The same thing goes for revising: You can learn more stuff from six 10-minute sessions than one 60-minute session.


By applying this technique of doing a little often you’ll be able to remember more things and spend less time try to do it. So while your friends are staying in, doing all their homework late into the evening and getting average grades, you can relax knowing you’ve already learnt more and by using less time and effort.


That definitely means you’re learning stuff better.



Tip 6: Learn more by studying for shorter periods more often.


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