hugh2012

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I was wondering how long you guys can study in a day before calling it quits and losing inefficiency? Does 6-8 hours sound like the tipping point before diminishing returns? Also, do you guys take a day or two off every day to recover from study fatigue? I am wondering how much you guys study during the semester and during MCAT season.
 

AlfonsTheGuru

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2 and a half hours at max

I need to get better :(
 
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RTC19

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I usually go 3 hours on, 1 hour off, repeat.

I know the 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off is really the best way to do it, but I find that 10 minutes serves to distract me more than anything else.
 

JustintheDoctor

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I usually go 3 hours on, 1 hour off, repeat.

I know the 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off is really the best way to do it, but I find that 10 minutes serves to distract me more than anything else.
yeah. I "reward my self" with like 1 match in gears or halo lol and then get back to work.
 

AlfonsTheGuru

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I usually go 3 hours on, 1 hour off, repeat.

I know the 50 minutes on, 10 minutes off is really the best way to do it, but I find that 10 minutes serves to distract me more than anything else.
How is 3 hours even possible?
 

piii

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In my SMP program I usually studied 4-10 hours a day for about 9 months with one night every two weeks off. During Exam weeks I'd study 10 hours a day with a few breaks and after the exam I'd have 2 days off. Exams every 2 weeks.
 

NotASerialKiller

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How is 3 hours even possible?
The extra half hour on top of your limit is that shocking? For me it mostly depends on what test and what situation. If I was studying 3 days before a test I'd probably get bored and restless after an hour and a half. If it's 8 hours until I write and I just started I'd be able to study non-stop until I have to leave the apartment. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. Also cocaine.
 

mr.mkitty

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Supposedly, according to research, 50 minutes is the max amount of time you can go with concentration before you start to lose attention (that's why people often say to study for about an hour and then take a break). I myself started off studying for an hour at a time. In between each hour I studied, I would take exactly a ten minute break before going back in to study. I would do this three times (so 3 hours of studying, and about 20 minutes of breaks). After that I would go home, refuel by eating a good meal/drinking lots of water, and spend around an hour and fifteen minutes just relaxing. This really helped since it would help me gain some gumption to go back and study. I would then return to the lab and do the 3 hour period once more before calling it a day.
Now, as the weeks passed, and I began to really get down the actual content, I started lengthening the time of some of my study periods. Sometimes I would study for an hour and a half before taking like a fifteen minute break, and then study for another hour and a half to finish that period. I really thought that lengthening the study time OVERTIME was very helpful. I don't trust people that tell me they study for "insert hour numbers" in a row. Those people are typically texting, facebooking, or doing something that ISN'T studying (thus they aren't truly studying for "Insert number" hours straight...
My last thing is Turn off your phone and computer. I actually used a room in which I couldn't even get service. Having your phone on is such a distraction.. If you are using your phone, itll just take away from true-study time. You will also trick yourself into thinking you studied more than you actually did and so you may quit early.
I did not take a study course, simply used my prep-material from EK, am by no means a genius of any sorts, and still scored a balanced 517. Of course, everyone studies differently, but try my method and see if you like it.
 
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I don't know why but I always had A/A- by procrastinating. I'm not good at studying a lot and it never happens.

I study a night or two before the exam and depends on the subject, the weekend before. And when I do that, for hard classes, my studying last couple hours and then I watch a tv show and eat and repeat until I feel confident.

Not nice, stressful, but it worked and with my schedule and my personality, I couldn't do better.

For the MCAT, I studied for 3 month every single day except Saturday and Friday night and I did the same: study and when I'm sick of it, I watch a tv show and eat.
 
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mr.mkitty

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I don't know why but I always had A/A- by procrastinating. I'm not good at studying a lot and it never happens.

I study a night or two before the exam and depends on the subject, the weekend before. And when I do that, for hard classes, my studying last couple hours and then I watch a tv show and eat and repeat until I feel confident.

Not nice, stressful, but it worked and with my schedule and my personality, I couldn't do better.

For the MCAT, I studied for 3 month every single day except Saturday and Friday night and I did the same: study and when I'm sick of it, I watch a tv show and eat.
What was your score
 
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Ad2b

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Consistent study? 3 hours max. Total time? 8 - 10 hours with small breaks in there.
 

idontknowwhatnametopick

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When I was studying for the MCAT, I set a schedule of 2 or 3 chapters a day and stuck to it. For example, Monday I'd do a chapter of Bio, Phys, and Chem. Tuesday a chapter of OChem, Bio, and a verbal practice. I found that some days I'd get it done faster than others, so I'd study 6-12 hours in a day depending on how many practice problems I needed to do before a chapter "stuck."

What really helped me was an app called "Clockwork Tomato," which automatically puts your phone in airplane mode for "study time" and then automatically turns wifi and phone capabilities back on when it's time for a break. I started by doing 30 minutes and a 5 minute break, and progressively increased to match MCAT lengths (I think it was 70 minutes with a 10 minute break).

I wish I had practiced such discipline during my undergrad, I certainly would have been much less stressed out the night before exams. At the time I did exactly what @nanacomeon described... TV shows and lots of junk food.
 
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AlfonsTheGuru

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The extra half hour on top of your limit is that shocking? For me it mostly depends on what test and what situation. If I was studying 3 days before a test I'd probably get bored and restless after an hour and a half. If it's 8 hours until I write and I just started I'd be able to study non-stop until I have to leave the apartment. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. Also cocaine.
I get restless after a mere 5 minutes. Studying always involves me pacing around the room stating facts and explaining concepts. I'll see if the cocaine improves my stamina.
 

Pusheen

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I've had lots of days where I studied from the time I get out of bed to the time I went to sleep. I don't take a ton of official breaks, but I get distracted plenty. I'll usually check emails, go on fb, mess around on the internet or something every half hour or so
 

Dr.Sticks

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All day if I have quiet/no distractions..
However it's not about the time for me.. I study smart, not study long and hard.
 
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ciestar

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I studied way different for the MCAT than I did for UG.
MCAT I basically studied 5-6 days a week probably 6-8 hours over a 4 month period.

With UG, I did a lot of reviewing immediately after class, going over my notes and basically reviewing them an hour or so a few days a week.
I never timed myself. I just went through the material in the time I thought was beneficial, but I could also tell when my concentration was waning, so I'd take a break when I noticed that, don't force yourself to go on.
 

ortnakas

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In med school-- 2 hours, 15 minute break, repeat, slightly longer breaks for lunch and dinner. In pre-exam weekends this can add up to 14-16 hour days, but usually it's not that long.

For pre-exam study marathons I do tend to change subjects/chapters every hour-- we have block exams, and that prevents me from A) getting bored, B) getting stuck on a chapter that's going to be under 5/200 questions anyway, C) not getting through everything I need to.
 

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Before med school, generally maxed out at 5, averaged at like 1-2 hours per day. Class time is not included as it generally was not optional for me (add 0-4 hours per day, probably +2 on average).

In med school, I have maxed at 16 and average probably 11-12. This includes class time (as class is optional except in specific circumstances).
 

GiveMeThatMD

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The extra half hour on top of your limit is that shocking? For me it mostly depends on what test and what situation. If I was studying 3 days before a test I'd probably get bored and restless after an hour and a half. If it's 8 hours until I write and I just started I'd be able to study non-stop until I have to leave the apartment. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing. Also cocaine.
Mostly cocaine though. Seriously, all you freshman should really consider trying it.
 

allantois

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I'm a terrible procrastinator. I would study a few days before the exam, but I would not do anything else; just study.Same with papers!
 
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oOKawaiiOo

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During undergrad, when I turn on my Gunner Mode, 6-8 hours everyday. Made the grades, but loss my girlfriend in the process.

During MCAT study, 10-12 hours, everyday. Improved my score by 6 points, but loss my girlfriend in the process + knockout a dude at the club.
 

Law2Doc

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My last thing is Turn off your phone and computer. I actually used a room in which I couldn't even get service. Having your phone on is such a distraction.. If you are using your phone, itll just take away from true-study time. You will also trick yourself into thinking you studied more than you actually did and so you may quit early...
I would say this should be the first thing, not the last thing. There's a good movie about the first year of law school called "The Paper Chase" where at one point the two main characters check into a cheap motel room for a week, had the bellboy remove the TV and phone, lived on take-out and basically did nothing but study 18 hours a day.(this was before the day of computers and smart phones). If you get these distractors out of your life during your study window you'll cover a lot more ground. Your mind is constantly looking for stimulation, and if it can't get it from Words with Friends or Facebook, then it will focus in on your science texts with gusto.
 
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ortnakas

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Same girlfriend both times or different girlfriend?
During undergrad, when I turn on my Gunner Mode, 6-8 hours everyday. Made the grades, but loss my girlfriend in the process.

During MCAT study, 10-12 hours, everyday. Improved my score by 6 points, but loss my girlfriend in the process + knockout a dude at the club.
 
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IlyaR

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In my SMP program I usually studied 4-10 hours a day for about 9 months with one night every two weeks off. During Exam weeks I'd study 10 hours a day with a few breaks and after the exam I'd have 2 days off. Exams every 2 weeks.
Did the same. 3-10 hours depending on the day mon-fri. Friday night and Saturday would hang out and, Sunday would be 3-10 hours again

MCAT I studied less and less as the test approached
 
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breezy16

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For a binge study/no class: Wake up eat, study 50min-1hr. Go to gym, study 50min-1 hour, shower. Study. Walk around, play with pets. Study. Basically rinse and repeat. In terms of weekends, depends on stakes of test. Half of a day is generally no studying.
 

Law2Doc

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For a binge study/no class: Wake up eat, study 50min-1hr. Go to gym, study 50min-1 hour, shower. Study. Walk around, play with pets. Study. Basically rinse and repeat. In terms of weekends, depends on stakes of test. Half of a day is generally no studying.
This strategy works great in undergrad. But honestly once you get beyond that the volume gets so great that you need to prioritize your distractions -- if you want to go to the gym, thats time you aren't going to walk around and play with pets, and vice versa. The people who try to balance out studying with substantial non studying activities each day sometimes have a harder time converting to the med school work load than the folks who cultivated the "work 50 minutes, break 10 minutes and repeat ad nauseum" approach. if you feel like you are doing a lot, yet half the day is not studying (which frankly is probably more than half as I bet you don't religiously start early/end late) you are going to face some culture shock. A lot of early med school is about learning how to study. Not only how to be efficient but also how to bulldoze through mountains of material multiple times until you know it. There are better and worse starting points for this. A handful of 1 hour spurts might be plenty for undergrad but it's pretty much regarded as taking it way too easy at the next stage.
 

piii

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Did the same. 3-10 hours depending on the day mon-fri. Friday night and Saturday would hang out and, Sunday would be 3-10 hours again

MCAT I studied less and less as the test approached
Ah yeah having the MCAT sucked. Did you take the 2015 exam? I did most of my content prep second semester then finished it the week after classes ended and basically did practice problems for 10hrs/day until the June exam.
 

breezy16

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This strategy works great in undergrad. But honestly once you get beyond that the volume gets so great that you need to prioritize your distractions -- if you want to go to the gym, thats time you aren't going to walk around and play with pets, and vice versa. The people who try to balance out studying with substantial non studying activities each day sometimes have a harder time converting to the med school work load than the folks who cultivated the "work 50 minutes, break 10 minutes and repeat ad nauseum" approach. if you feel like you are doing a lot, yet half the day is not studying (which frankly is probably more than half as I bet you don't religiously start early/end late) you are going to face some culture shock. A lot of early med school is about learning how to study. Not only how to be efficient but also how to bulldoze through mountains of material multiple times until you know it. There are better and worse starting points for this. A handful of 1 hour spurts might be plenty for undergrad but it's pretty much regarded as taking it way too easy at the next stage.
Great assessment! I appreciate the feedback and definitely have different modes of study, this is just the most common (due to lower stakes or multiple testing situations) and other than the gym, my breaks probably consist of 5-10 mins.
 
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CherryRedDracul

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Can? I've done 12 hours a day before during crunch time with minimal distractions. I can do about an hour straight before I need a break because I'm a fast reader and trying to process that much information without burning out is tough without more breaks. I use a Pomodoro technique: 25 minutes studying + 5 minute breaks to keep myself going without significantly fatiguing.
 

Siroucity

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During my study breaks, I stretch a lot and consume something sweet. The brain's "fuel" is glycogen which you can obtain from fruits and chocolate. I've noticed the amount of energy I have to study over a period of time has increased when I make good use of my break for stretching and refueling glycogen.
 
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Stagg737

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Completely depends for me. If I'm having an off day, then 10-15 minutes studying, 5 minute break. Repeat 3-4 cycles, then 30ish minute break. Repeat. If I'm in the zone I can go 4-5 straight hours with no breaks, especially if I can snack while studying. My longest marathon with short (10 minute or less) breaks was around 14 hours.

It depends what I'm doing though. If I'm watching lecture, then 30 minutes studying/watching, 5 minute distraction, repeat until I finish. For flashcards, finish a deck (45-90 minutes) then 15-30 minute break. If I'm doing review questions I can go for hours without a break. I actually enjoy taking quizzes/tests when they don't impact my career, so I usually just do those until I run out of questions in whatever bank I'm using.

yeah. I "reward my self" with like 1 match in gears or halo lol and then get back to work.
I refuse to believe that any human can play 'just one match'.
 
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IlyaR

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Ah yeah having the MCAT sucked. Did you take the 2015 exam? I did most of my content prep second semester then finished it the week after classes ended and basically did practice problems for 10hrs/day until the June exam.
Took in '14 thank god. That sounds rough, had to be done though
 
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HybridEarth

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Usually 30 minutes on, 5 minute break if the content is dense and isn't just plain memorizing (e.g. Molec genetics or something of that nature).

Everything else has been the standard 1 hour on/10 minute break where I go somewhere else in my house. I've found that sitting in one room for a prolonged time, even with breaks, ruins my concentration
 

EvolutionaryRevolutionary

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45 mins of study, 15 minute break intervals. I would say about 3-4 hours.
 

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Without classes, 8 hours a day (fueled by caffeine and high protein/low carb foods). I think 10 hours of work a day (class, studying, etc) is kinda the point where you will start getting diminishing returns
 

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I continuously screw around while studying. I can pull 12 or so hours in a day.
 

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Moderators, please sticky!!!

This strategy works great in undergrad. But honestly once you get beyond that the volume gets so great that you need to prioritize your distractions -- if you want to go to the gym, thats time you aren't going to walk around and play with pets, and vice versa. The people who try to balance out studying with substantial non studying activities each day sometimes have a harder time converting to the med school work load than the folks who cultivated the "work 50 minutes, break 10 minutes and repeat ad nauseum" approach. if you feel like you are doing a lot, yet half the day is not studying (which frankly is probably more than half as I bet you don't religiously start early/end late) you are going to face some culture shock. A lot of early med school is about learning how to study. Not only how to be efficient but also how to bulldoze through mountains of material multiple times until you know it. There are better and worse starting points for this. A handful of 1 hour spurts might be plenty for undergrad but it's pretty much regarded as taking it way too easy at the next stage.
 

Gandyy

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I find that 3-4 hours segments, then a small break then back to it will work for science/math courses. For non science/math courses, not much studying is usually required.
 
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