One trick that helps you study more
By Dr Mahya Mirzaei (Aerospace engineer, University of Sydney)

We all try to study harder and more. But have you ever thought about how much time we actually waste while trying to study?

I remember when I was in year 12, I would study the whole of each Saturday. So basically from 8 am till night time I was sitting at my desk. Now you may think "wow you must've got a lot done!". Well, that's what I thought , until one day I decided to use a stop watch to time how much I studied. So the way it worked was simple:

"Every time I got up, went to look in the fridge (pointlessly), looked at my messages, went on Facebook, went on Youtube, stared in to blank space, etc. I'd stop the stop watch and I'd resume it again when I was concentrating again on my study".

To my horror, the first time I did this I realised that I averaged a total of 1 hour and 39 minutes during my day long study attempt. So I was basically stuck at my house and my desk the whole day but I studied for less than two hours, well that's not good.

What you will realise as well, is that this is what you are most probably doing too. So the trick is how do we get down to actual study and stop wasting time?

Well this is what I did, and this is what I have always told my students to do ever since. And guess what, it works brilliantly in training your mind into effective time management, and here's what it is:

1. Set yourself a study goal. This can be "I want to study uninterrupted for 30 mins or 1 hour (don't choose more than 1 hour initially as you won't be able to stick with it, and also it's good to have breaks after an hour of study).

2. Set up a timer (one that you can set to 30 mins etc. and then it starts counting backwards until you get to zero) and during that time you can't do anything else but study. No jumping on YouTube, no Instagram, no Snapchat, no going to look in the fridge for the thousandth time even though you're not even hungry, no nothing. Everytime you get distracted you pause the timer, but the goal is to let it run uninterrupted for the whole time until you hear the amazing sound of "ding ding" which tells you that time is up and you have achieved your goal.

3. Give yourself a little break and then repeat.

Now this trick will help you two fold: first you will be able to learn how to study uninterruptedly and second you will know how long you can actually study for. The latter is very important, because it helps you know where you're at and how you can improve. It's easy to get disappointed and lose all faith if you don't get the marks you want if it feels like you're always studying. But if you actually know that (even though it felt like you were studying the whole day) you only studied for one hour, you can know that you just simply need to work harder.

Aim for the stars, all your goals are just a step away!

Dr Mahya Mirzaei
Bachelor of Aeronautical Space Engineering
Doctorate Degree in Engineering - (PhD)