Studying is hard. You have countless facts and ideas that must be memorized, then put into practice to show that you have mastered these concepts.
Students regularly “burn out” because they hit a wall when they study. They’re unable to progress because they lose the motivation to do so, which in turn leads to faltering grades and a harder time completing that often highly-priced education.
Let’s take a look at four study strategies that can help you overcome study burnout:
1. Take Breaks During the Day
Despite what seems sensible, continuing to push yourself in one direction without a break will lead to less progress than if you take proper breaks. This happens because, unlike a machine, your drive tends to wear out as you focus on one topic for a prolonged period.
To overcome this, ensure that you take regular breaks. Get up, stretch, walk around, or even take a small jog. A distraction can provide enough relaxation to give you the boost you need to avoid study burnout while efficiently learning your course material.
2. Take Care of Your Body
Your brain’s ability to think clearly is often a direct reflection of how well you maintain your body. Everything from the food you eat to the restfulness of your sleep will dictate how much energy you have to learn.
To ensure that you can study for longer periods of time and in more effective ways, you should:
• Eat well: Avoid the temptation that is fast food by opting for healthy, nutritious foods. Home-cooked meals including fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables will provide your body and mind with ample nutrients to stay strong.
• Exercise regularly: Exercise encourages blood circulation, which helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to the brain. It also helps to release hormones that can elevate your mood.
• Sleep well: Sleep is one of the processes your body uses to repair itself. Without adequate sleep, our brains become sluggish and unable to remember even the simplest of details.
3. Cater to Your Specialty
Many students try to balance every subject required for their degree. Medical students require a broad field of study, which ranges from English courses to non-medicine sciences.
This stretching is often what accounts for the 54.4 percent of burnout in medical specialties.
One way to avoid this is to engage in a medical program that focuses on your specialty in ways that make sense. Many Master of Science in Nursing programs, for example, focus on your needs as a prospective medical professional. Additional degree requirements are structured in ways that medical students can better understand.
If you’re a medical student who feels on the edge of burnout, another tactic is to spend a single day working on your weakest subject. By focusing solely on this study, you can empower yourself to feel more confident about all your studies, which in turn can reinvigorate your ability to learn.
4. Set Realistic Goals
One of the biggest causes of study burnout is the fact that students seldom set realistic goals. They try to, for example, cram an entire textbook worth of knowledge into their heads the night before a final exam.
When you’re setting your study goals, make sure they are:
• Specific: Reading one chapter a week is a specific goal.
• Attainable: Don’t set yourself up for failure by setting your goals too high. Keep your study goals realistic and attainable.
• Timed: Force your studying to stay within your time constraints. This will help you keep your progress steady without burning yourself out.
Studying is a Gradual Process
The one thing to realize about studying is that is a gradual process. You will need to continue learning and putting what you learn into use to keep it in your mind.
This is why shorter periods of study mixed with breaks will often yield better results than longer study marathons. If you keep your focus on your goal and take small steps, you will inevitably obtain your academic goals without burning out.
This article was contributed by guest author Anica Oaks.