Now that you’re in university, chances are you’ll have mid-term assessments. And if your grade is based solely on coursework, you’ll still want to stay on top of the material. The Pomodoro Technique is a great way to increase productivity whilst still allowing flexibility, and avoid that study burn-out. So, here’s how it works:
The Pomodoro Technique
1) Decide on the task to be done
2) Do it for 25 minutes
3) Take a break for 5 minutes
4) Mark it on a sheet of paper
(1 POMODORO IS COMPLETE)
5) Go back to studying for another 25 minutes - in turn, complete another pomodro - stages 1-4.
6) Repeat this for 4 pomodoros
•Increase the length of your break every 4 pomodoros (up to 30 minutes)
To get the most out of studying, you’ll want to start off with making a schedule. This should include how long you expect to study each topic (and you want to make sure you’re studying to understand the material, rather than to just memorise it!). It’s also a good idea to mix it up a bit - don’t dedicate the whole day to studying the same topic; when you’ve completed 4 pomodoros for one topic, move on to another one.
Why is this method useful? We retain information better when we space out our studying and take regular breaks. It allows the brain to absorb and process the information naturally, rather than cramming it all in. Researchers at the University of Surrey Business School found that students who studied with spaced learning recalled 20% more information than those using traditional studying methods.
Furthermore, traditional learners recalled far more information after 30 minutes of an hour-long lecture, than they did once the full hour was complete. This suggests that learning in short bursts and giving the brain time to process the information is far more effective than ploughing through information for hours on end.
The Pomodoro method is best suited for revision and studying, as it is a learning technique; it may still be useful for completing physical tasks such as writing an essay. As everyone’s productivity levels are different, you can tweak it as necessary. For example, if you want to use this method to get an essay done, you could set yourself a target of typing “x” number of words in 25 minutes, or start timing yourself only once you get into the “flow” of writing. The point is to pace yourself while ensuring that you get the most out of the time you have set to get a particular task done.
As a final note: spend those break times wisely. Don’t flee to social media during those short breaks – you may not come back from it for a while! You’d be far better off with getting up and moving around, getting some fresh air, or fixing yourself a quick snack. For the longer breaks, review the material and take a nap, or go for a walk, or do whatever you like to do to relax. You’ve earned it.
- By Tasfia Gazi