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Monday, March 30, 2015

When Is It Alright To Skip A Study Session

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On this blog I'm always tooting the horns of consistency. A good study routine is one that is as close to habitual as possible. At the same time, I've left a few comments in the mix that led to a little confusion among my readers. It's probably been a mistake not to have cleared this up earlier. Thanks to everyone asking the question about it.

Study consistency is ideal and practically 100% required for the first few weeks of your study routine. Many people, that aren't completely committed, take takes off early in their attempted study routine and then end up giving up on the routine completely. So, for the first two or three weeks of any new study routine, buckled down and don't skip a session. Past that, you don't have to be perfectly consistent.

Bumps In Life

In an ideal world a person would be able to study at the same time, everyday, for the same length of time. Naturally, we live pretty far from that ideal world. That's particularly true for the busiest of students. It's a complaint I hear all the time, “I can't predict when I'm going to have time to study consistently.”

Honestly, you just need to be 95% sure you can study at the same time consistently. (Do it when you wake up in the morning if you have to.) It doesn't really matter if you miss one or two study sessions a month. You'll still end up miles ahead of the less consistent studier.

That being said, if you're missing study sessions regularly then you probably need to look deeper at yourself. Why can't you adjust your schedule to a consistent study time? You may unintentionally be trying to force yourself out of studying by putting that study session at a bad time. Then, when you have any excuse to cancel the study session you use the excuse.

This is a serious motivation problem that you need to always be looking out for.


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Studying while you're sick can often be a waste of time. If you have the sniffles and aren't feeling that bad, it probably won't hurt to study. That's particularly true if you had already skipped some study sessions. That being said, you're going to be working at a lower efficiency than if you were feeling well.

If you're seriously sick then you don't need to waste your time studying. Sure, you can get some results but for the most part, you are wasting time. It will be easier to spend more time studying when you're not sick to catch up (most of the time.)

If you're seriously sick for more than just a couple days then this changes slightly. One or two days of completely skipping your study routine for sickness won't hurt all that much. Once you skip a week or more you're putting your study routine (and ability to catch up) at risk. That being said, don't ever force yourself too much.

If you're anything like me, you probably don't mind studying as much when you're bedridden and feeling like crap anyway. (Sure, it's not ideal but studying can help you fall asleep.) When you're sick for a long period of time, let yourself study if you feel like you're up for it. Ultimately, you're going to have to have a little discipline but you don't have too many better options.

The Don't-Cares

Ever start a study session and feel like quitting within five minutes?

Probably. That's usually a sign that you're doing something wrong with your study session. If you're completely immersed in your study session you won't start feeling the urge to stop for at least 15 to 20 minutes. That being said, even if you have the kind of study session I recommend in this blog, every once in a while you'll realize your brain is stuck in the off position for the night.

It takes a lot of discipline to do the following but I absolutely stand behind it's effectiveness.

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If you normally don't have an issue studying but for some reason, you just don't feel like it this one day then feel free to quit. That being said, you should only be quitting after attempting to study for at least a third of your regular session.

So, if you study 15 minutes (like I recommend in this blog. Check out the archives for the details,) then  5 minutes into your study session, if you still feel like quitting, you can quit.

After you quit studying, do not rush off to play a video game or do something fun. Instead just relax. This is to help prevent your brain from associating quitting studying with too much enjoyment. If you give it a few minutes before having fun, you'll be in a much better position to study the next day.

Of course, with all of these things I'm recommending, they come with a caution.


I try to focus on consistency for a reason. Most people are too inconsistent with their studying. Whenever they see a post like this giving good reasons they shouldn't study, they'll use this as an excuse to keep studying inconsistently. (While I said it's okay to miss a couple sessions a month, they'll be missing 50% of their sessions and using this as an excuse.)

That's obviously not most of the regular readers of this blog because, lets face it, people that look up study strategies generally are much better at discipline than the general population.

Here is the way I recommend you keep an eye on yourself. If you ever feel like you're missing too many study sessions (and you miss more than 1 or 2 a month) then you're probably right. Heck, even if you're wrong, a little bit too much consistency wont hurt you all that much. For the most part, not studying because of these three things is for your pleasure. It's not because it would wildly hurt your study session. If you don't take a day off, don't.

Do you want to know how hundreds of readers are studying less than 15 minutes a night and still kicking ass? That's what this blog is all about. Be sure to follow and check out the archives. Also, look at the ebooks to get the crash course.

Do you want to learn the secrets about studying that the mainstream educators wont tell you? Follow this blog.

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