Story written by Micah Karr, DailyFlipz Health Reporter
FAIRBORN, Ohio- Studying- a vital part of college life, can also the the hardest. There are so many distractions from your friends coming to visit, the need to order a pizza, to your mother sending you a video of a cat chasing a laser pointer. How can you possibly concentrate? Learn to study smarter and not harder with these techniques.
A popular study technique, voted “Most Popular Productivity Method” by Lifehacker.com in 2012, is the “Pomodoro Method.” This tactic, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s, is based around time, in which a student studies in 25 minute segments, called “Pomodoros,” broken up with 5-minute breaks. After the fourth “Pomodoro,” the student takes a longer, half-hour break.
Not only does the Pomodoro Method involve timing one’s work or study, it involves a checklist of activities to be completed with the Pomodoros. After each Pomodoro is completed, an X is placed by the task. When the task is completed, the task is crossed off the list. “The Pomodoro Technique,” Cirillo writes, “was created with the aim of using time as a valuable ally to accomplish what we want to do the way we want to do it.”
Of course, not every 25 minutes will pass without distraction. If the student experiences a distracting thought, or “internal distraction,” instead of stopping the Pomodoro, and therefore disrupting the work, the student writes an apostrophe in the box where she would regularly write an X, writes down the distracting thought on a separate list, and moves on. For example, according to Cirillo, in his original report written in 2006 about the Pomodoro Method, if someone using the Pomodoro Method wanted to order a pizza, she would write an apostrophe, write down “order a pizza,” and continue to work. Most likely she can wait 25 minutes for a pizza.
If a distraction caused by something outside the student’s control, such as a friend stopping by, a phone call, or something similar, it is called an “external distraction.” There are a few things one can do in this scenario.
First, if the distraction is extremely urgent, such as a phone call during a family emergency, simply void the Pomodoro and try again later. If the phone call or other distraction is not urgent and can be taken care of later, wait until the Pomodoro is over and then assess what needs to be done. To document an external distraction that can be dealt with later, write a dash in the box where one would write an X.
For maximum efficiency, Cirillo says, one must use the Pomodoro method for up to a week before seeing its full potential.
Jackie Seigal, a writing coach in the University Writing Center, recommends putting away distractions for studying, such as a phone or other devices. Additionally, she says, music helps her to focus.
When writing papers, Seigal explains that she types what she is thinking, and then returns back to organize her thoughts into an effective draft. Additionally, she likes to do homework with a group of friends who is devoted to studying. “They know what to get done,” she says.
If students need help with their studying, or require assistance in their classes, they can contact the University College, which offers tutoring, a writing center, and other resources so students can make the most of their classes and study effectively.
Story edited by Health & Business Editor Taylor Whitney