How often do you set great intentions to study for a whole afternoon and then find yourself struggling to concentrate? We’re here to tell you not to beat yourself up about it.
A variety of scientific studies have suggested two important things about our concentration:
- Your ability to focus may be limited to 4 or 5 hours a day
- Due to natural variations in our cycle of alertness, we can concentrate for no longer than 90 minutes before needing a 15-minute break
This re-affirms what teachers and lecturers have been saying for decades: trying to cram for an exam is not going to work! Not only will your concentration decrease but your ability to recall the information you learnt will be severely limited too.
Spending an hour or two a day on your studies is a much better approach if you want to have the best recall possible.
Here are a few apps that will help you make the most of that precious time:
1. Pomodoro Timer
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your workday into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.
The technique works by improving your discipline and encouraging you to avoid interruptions by breaking down big tasks into smaller chunks. Some people may find that 25 minutes isn’t enough to get you into the “flow” state so you may find that you can work through two pomodoros (50 minutes) before you need a break.
There are a variety of free pomodoro apps available but this one is our favourite:
2. Forest App
We’re all guilty of it – sitting down at a desk with the intention to study and then wasting 20 minutes scrolling through Facebook on our phones!
The Forest App is the perfect way to keep your concentration on track. You can set the app to time your study sessions for whatever length of time works for you and each time you successfully complete a study slot, you earn a tree. What’s even better is that you can set a block list for certain apps (like Facebook or Instagram) and if you open those apps during your study slot, your tree will wither and die!
The Forest App is available as a phone app as well as a browser plugin for Google Chrome so you can snyc your devices and earn trees on whatever device you are using at the time.
3. StudySmarter App
Do you love studying using tools or flashcards? Not a fan of handwritten notes? The StudySmarter App is just what you need!
You can start by uploading PDF excerpts or textbooks or handouts and then using the app (or website) to highlight sections of text, make notes, create flashcards and much, much more. Learning more than one subject or module? You can organize your notes into Study Sets which allows you to keep your material super organized and easy to find.
You can also track your time, set yourself study goals and even give yourself trophies when you need to reward yourself for all your hard work.
What we love most about it is that you can also invite your friends to the app and share study notes and flashcards as well as answer each other’s questions.
Those are our top three choices for study apps to help you stay focused and make the most of your time. Onwards and upwards to study and career success!