How to Maximise Your Learning According to the Time of Day

By the SMU Social Media Team

So much to do, but so little time. That always seems to be the case, doesn’t it?

This common lament is especially apparent when it’s crunch time and you nary have the time to catch a wink (or even breathe!) between rushing assignments, cramming for tests, clocking in internship hours, or worse yet, juggling work and studies.

While you can’t make time come to a standstill or magically make the course load lighter, you can make small changes to optimise your study time.

We’ve gathered a couple of tips for all of you time-strapped students, to help make the most of your study time:

Identify your peak performance period

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Identifying when your focus is at its peak is the first step to studying effectively and efficiently. Let’s face it. There’s no point in forcing yourself to keep awake artificially by chugging can after can of Red Bull when your eyes are half open and you can’t concentrate. While you may clock many hours ‘studying’, how much information you really absorb and how efficient you are, is a whole different story. Once you’ve identified the peak study period, create a routine around the hours that your mind works best.

Eliminate distractions

How effective your study time is, is highly dependent on how well you can focus while studying. All of us are constantly getting bombarded by distractions – from the release of the latest season for your favourite Netflix drama to the renovation works taking place at the void deck.

Plan your study schedule around these distractions. If your peak studying period is in the morning, and you know the renovation will start at 10am and only end at 6pm, find an alternative spot to study at.

Study before exercising or going to sleep

Find it tough to memorise theories, concepts or formulas? According to a study done by researchers at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour at Radboud University in the Netherlands and the University of Edinburgh, exercising a few hours after a studying session has been shown to boost recall and aid in committing new facts to the long-term memory.

Similarly, another study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston showed that studying just before bedtime has been linked with improved memory and recall. So, don’t even think about skipping that gym session or scrimping on sleep!

Break it up

Spending hours after hours cramming macroeconomic theories or complex formulas into your brain doesn’t necessarily mean you’re studying effectively.

Sometimes, less is more. There’s a limit to your attention span, and once you’ve gone beyond that limit, it’s easy for your mind to drift and lose focus. Rather than sit down for long hours poring over a certain topic, why not break up the topic into more manageable, bite-sized portions and space it over several shorter sessions? This way, you can study in small pockets of time throughout the day.


2 thoughts on “How to Maximise Your Learning According to the Time of Day

  1. Aleksandra

    Hello SMU Social Media Team,
    I’m happy to inform you that this post is featured in the recent part of TimeCamp’s weekly Productivity Articles roundup! Find “A Smart Way To Get Things Done – Read These Productivity Articles! 13/11/17” on
    Thank you for sharing these excellent productivity and time management tips!
    Ola Rybacka, SM Manager at TimeCamp

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