Study Time Maximisation: The 20-Minute Golden Rule

The best students work smarter instead of harder. They know how to maximise their study time.

I’d estimate that 95% of students do not study properly. Yes, 95% of students are wasting their study time.

That’s not statistically proven, but I’ve seen enough in 12 years of teaching Maths. Show me 20 random students, and I’d safely only find 1 who is consistently using their study time effectively and achieving their full potential.

And as parents, it’s hard to help. Education has evolved so much that many parents will struggle to help their children. Sure, when last did any among us use the quadratic formula in our everyday life?

This problem is only amplified in the run-up to exams. All too often, parents have next to no idea about how their child is using their study time. Take a look at this meme and tell us if it feels familiar:

Maximising Study Time

Studying is a habit. Yes, a habit. It has to be developed over time – you don’t come kicking and screaming out of the womb, with the god given gift of studying.

You might doubt that if you have one of those brainbox friends who seems to smash all of their exams. But the truth is, those students are excelling not because they are more intelligent than you, they have just figured out HOW to study.

Students who excel at studying follow a similar structure:

That means that anyone can maximise their study time, and by extension, their results!

Goldilocks Of Study: The 20-Minute Rule

In my opinion (and experience of being a student myself), just 20 minutes of study time on one subject is what you should aim for. It’s long enough for enough information to be repeated. It short enough to not get tired and/or lose concentration. It’s just right.

Granted, older students are capable of more. I’ll outline rough study guides below. But as a general rule, 20 minutes of study time has proven to be the system that lasts longest with my students and delivers better Maths grades.

  • Primary School Students: Ideally 15 minutes per topic, maximum of 20 mins study time per topic.
  • Junior Cert Students: Ideally spend 20 mins per topic, maximum of 30 mins per topic.
  • Leaving Cert Students: Spend a minimum of 20 mins per topic, ideally around 30 mins per topic, maximum of 40 mins per topic.

When Should I Study – Morning, Noon or Night?

I can give you a very, sitting on the wall, answer here and say it depends on the student. But research says otherwise. Studies have shown that learning is most effective between 10 am to 2 pm. And I agree.

That means, Saturday mornings will be your most effective time to study. Get the homework finished on a Friday evening. Do your 3 or 4 topics of study on a Saturday morning. Enjoy the rest of your weekend off!

Learn how to study, get better grades.

TJ— CEO of Breakthrough Maths.

Need help in Maths? Contact the Breakthrough Maths team here.

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