As much as possible, create a routine time of day for your studying. Some experts contend that doing the same thing at the same time every day is the most effective way to organize any ongoing task. Some students find it easier to set aside specific blocks of time during the day, each day, in which they plan on studying. No matter who you are, the time of day you’ll study is determined by these factors:
■ Study when you’re at your best. What is your peak performance period—the time of day you do your best work? This period varies from person to person—you may be dead to the world until noon but able to study well into the night, or up and alert at the crack of dawn but distracted and tired if you try to burn the midnight oil. Just remember, focus = efficiency.
■ Consider your sleep habits. Habit is a very powerful influence. If you always set your alarm for 7 a.m., you may soon start waking up just before the alarm goes off. If you have grown accustomed to going to sleep around 11 p.m., you will undoubtedly become quite tired if you try to study until 2 a.m., and probably accomplish very little during those three extra hours.
■ Study when you can.
Although you want to sit down to study when you are mentally most alert, external factors also play a role in deciding when you study. Being at your best is a great goal, but is not always possible. Study whenever circumstances allow.
How to Study
■ Consider the complexity of the assignment when you allocate time. The tasks themselves may have a great effect on your schedule. Don’t schedule one hour for an 80-page reading assignment when you know you read half a page per minute…on a good day.