How to Study Less but Better

For some people studying is a simple and exciting process, which is easy and painless. For others, it’s an unbearable ordeal that can lead to a real depression. As a rule, the difference between the two categories of students isn’t in their abilities or talent, but in the approach that makes them more productive.

What Productivity in Learning Means

Productivity refers to the efficiency of human labor. This term is used both in economics and in ordinary life. But if in the first case, its meaning is clear (because productivity has specific measures – the amount of goods produced or services rendered), in the second case there may be certain misunderstandings.


As a rule, a person’s productivity is determined by the results of his labor, both physical and intellectual. For a writer, it will be expressed in the number of pages printed during his work, for a builder in the amount of work done per hour or per shift, and for a student in the number of books read or material learned, again per unit of time.


The notion of productivity in the educational process is multifaceted. It includes several aspects that directly affect the result of the work done:

  • Availability of materials for preparation. Obviously, if a student has no textbooks, lecture and seminar notes, notes from laboratory and practical works, he cannot prepare for the exam. Similarly, he cannot prepare if he doesn’t have an assignment and exact information about what material he should study.
  • The ability to highlight the essence of a subject. Almost every textbook contains information, albeit information that promotes comprehension, but is unnecessary for memorization. The student must be able to extract the most important information from what he reads or hears and independently build a logical chain to fill in the gaps.
  • Often, experience is the missing link that accelerates the learning process. When dealing with a new topic, a student should immediately imagine how the information received can be used in practice and how it compares to his or her life experience.
  • It’s common for a student to fail to complete assignments due to trivial discipline problems. Completing assignments at the last minute before handing in is a common problem not only in the classroom but also in the work environment. There is only one way to cope with it: improvement of discipline.
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Thus, productivity is a complex concept, denoting, first, the student’s ability to master new material (or complete the teacher’s assignments) in the shortest possible time. High productivity allows you to significantly reduce the time to master new disciplines, improve the level of training and professionalism, as well as expand the list of competencies.


A student’s productivity can be assessed according to a variety of criteria:

  • Success in academic activities.
  • Participation in research activities.
  • Availability of publications in scientific publications.
  • Active life position.
  • Sports, creative or other activities not directly related to learning.
  • The desire to acquire new knowledge, additional skills and competencies.


The accumulated baggage of knowledge also remains an important element that affects productivity. It can be obtained in different ways – during practical classes, in free time and even from additional literature.


Any curriculum is structured to move from simple concepts to more complex ones. Therefore, special attention should be paid to preparation in the initial stages of training because the absence of even a small part of the information later can drastically undermine the productivity of the entire learning process.

Effective Ways to Improve Academic Productivity

Improve Your Study

The idea of improving your own productivity sooner or later comes to every student. Usually it’s associated with an increase in the academic workload – during sessions, educational practices and when writing a final qualification work. There are several ways to increase productivity.

Compliance With the Schedule

Often the reason for low productivity lies not in poor motivation, but in physiological features: the body simply does not have time to adapt to the constantly changing schedule. Because of this there is fatigue, sleepiness and rapid fatigue. The solution in this case, there is only one: to make a daily routine and follow it unconditionally. At first, it may seem very difficult, but after 1-2 weeks the body gets used to the new schedule, after which study will be much easier, and productivity will increase.

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Besides the daily routine, you should also follow the right diet. The lack of certain micronutrients can be just as disastrous for the body as the lack of sleep. And to save time, while eating you should not be distracted by external stimuli such as phones and televisions.


It’s important not only to comply with the established schedule but also not to overload yourself with a large number of tasks. It’s believed that a person can maintain concentration for 40-45 minutes, after which productivity goes down sharply. To recover, a person should completely distract from the work being done: change from mental activity to physical activity or just rest, chatting with friends or betting at Usually several minutes are enough for recovery, after which the work goes much faster.

Sports Training

Targeted workouts also help to increase productivity: 2-3 sessions in the gym will help strengthen the body and get an additional boost of energy. The most important thing here is not to overwork. Otherwise, instead of vigor, you can get overworked, and instead of saved time – spend a few extra days on recovery.


Every student has noticed: it’s worth it to get distracted by a phone call or a notification on social networks, and the study completely goes out of your head. To maintain high productivity, you should fence yourself off from any external stimuli as much as possible, be it TV, computer or phone. To avoid the temptation, put all the available gadgets in a distant drawer, and ask friends and family not to be distracted by trifles. Such a method can increase productivity by 30%, and sometimes by 50%.


According to studies, among today’s workers and students it is gadgets that remain the main source of problems with productivity. Therefore, you should be especially careful about what your precious time is spent on.


Sometimes the reason for poor performance lies not in external factors, but in the psychology of the person himself. Of course, everyone understands that in the future studies will bear fruit. However, such abstract ideas are not enough to motivate yourself to continue not the most interesting activity. Therefore, the sources of motivation must be more concrete.

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Almost any option will do – the main thing is that the reward should be clear and close in time. For example, after hard work, even a few minutes of rest may be a good motivation.


The easiest way to learn something is to immerse yourself in the environment of the subject. Sometimes a little practice is enough to understand the fullness of complex concepts. And such practice can be of many kinds: work directly related to the discipline, solving problems on the topic, or even watching instructional videos that put scientific theories into reality. In any case, having this kind of experience allows you to significantly accelerate the learning process, increasing the student’s productivity many times over. And of course, after learning the material, don’t forget to reinforce it – again, in practice.

Concentration on One Task

Trying to combine several tasks is a major mistake in the pursuit of maximum productivity. Many students try to do work while studying or do study on part-time jobs; solve assignments while listening to lectures, etc. In most cases, such attempts lead to a single outcome: the person fails to complete any of the tasks qualitatively. Therefore, the principle of multitasking should be abandoned. Instead, it’s recommended to divide the entire upcoming work into separate parts and perform them step by step. This approach allows not only a more in-depth study of the material, but also greatly accelerates the learning process.

Assessing Your Capabilities

When planning the learning process, you should assess your own strengths. Nothing increases productivity like a well-crafted plan. It’s important to focus on your own peculiarities, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses. Some people memorize printed material easier, while others prefer to learn a new topic only by ear. Some require complete silence to learn, while for some music is a must. All of this must be taken into account when building a regimen. Only by focusing on your abilities and preferences can you build a truly effective program that gives maximum productivity.

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