You should set aside a specific time and place to study each day. If your goal is to study 8 to 10 hours a day, you should begin by studying 2 to 3 hours a day for a few days. It is just like an athletic workout, if your goal is to run 15 miles, you do not run 15 miles the first day. You gradually build up to it. It takes a lot of mental preparation and discipline to be able to sit in one place over an 8 to 10 hour period. Gradually, as you build up your study time, your retention of the material will also increase.
You should try to eliminate, as completely as possible, distractions from your study environment. These distractions compete for your attention and effect your attitude and memory of the material that you are trying to emphasize. You should also select an area with the least amount of distractions. Your study area could be a bedroom with a desk, the basement of your home, the attic, or anywhere else where you can devote your absolute attention to the task at hand. Proper lighting is important along with a comfortable chair and desk. Be sure that when you are studying, everyone else in your family knows that you are not to be interrupted.
Everybody has a different time of the day when he or she has extremely good retention capabilities. This time could be from 6:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, or from 1:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M., or from 9:00 P.M. until 3:00 A.M. Only you know that. As you begin to study, find out which time of the day is best for you, where you have absolute retention of the material that you are studying. It is highly recommended that you take a break every hour, whether it be for 5 to 10 minutes just to get up, walk around, get a breath of fresh air, get something to drink, and then go back to studying. For some people, these breaks might only be needed after 2 to 3 hours of studying. Again, this is a situation where you are the best judge of when a break is needed. Many times, an individual becomes fatigued while studying. At this point, the material is not absorbed as easy as it is when you are well rested. Sometimes the best thing to do is to step away from the material, get a good night'! s sleep, and start over the next day. Trying to force your mind to study will only hamper the progress you are trying to make.
Also, remember that a sound body equals a sound mind. You should try to maintain a regular exercise program in which you feel good about yourself. This will put you in a better frame of mind, which in turn will enhance your studying.
Courtesy of Bryan Hurley @ FireCareerAssistance.com ©1998
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