Are you a student? Yes? Great! This is equally important for you. Yeah! That’s right! Important for you! As a student, you know you have one significant and unrivaled job which is: to read. Your reading has no rival as long as you consciously and willingly enroll in a school. So we will be looking at a few things that really matter in your bid to have a different an effective and excellent reading or study sessions. First:
1. Reading time: as the name reads: it is the time that you read. It is divided into two; the time (period of the day) that you set aside for your reading and the second is the time (time frame) which you allocate for your reading periods and sessions. As important as this is, many don’t seem to see it as important yet. Before we move on, let me say this: the effectiveness of the time (period) and the timeframe you allocate to your reading depends as much on individuals rather than on general acceptance and assumptions. There are different periods of the day. We have: early morning (4:30am) or late morning (11am), afternoon (12pm-3pm), evening (4pm-7pm) and late nights (7:30pm-4am). It’s no news that a lot of students don’t even recognize this and they don’t count it important. They just read as they want it. Have you ever asked yourself why you read and still don’t do well? Or why you read much and still don’t have as much productive reading sessions? I have not said the reason, just calm down and read on. Like I said, the productivity of the preferred reading period depends so much on you. You are meant to find out the period(s) of the day during which you assimilate better? During which periods do you not assimilate at all? This you can achieve by taking out time (maybe a week) during the early periods of the semester or even during the breaks. Find out which periods you read and understand best. Some students, their cases are unique. They know the period of the day they assimilate best but they decide to switch to other periods either because of “follow-follow” phenomenon: they switch because they want to read their friends are reading or because the that period of the day is very short and they need very long period . this is why some students do long night reading. It’s bad! Find out which period serves you best and stick to it! Do it consistently and faithfully! The second point is the timeframe. This is another place where so many students miss it and shoot themselves in the leg. A long hour of reading is not 100% guarantee that you will have 100% understanding of what you read. No! It’s not! You can read a topic for 10 hours and still leave the reading room with only 5-10% understanding of 50% of what you read whereas a student can read for only 3 hours and have 100% understanding of 80% of the whole topic. Which is more successful? That statistic is not fiction! It happens a lot. Not everybody can go for 6-10 hours straight and this is so because of the way the minds of the individuals have been trained and developed. Some switch off to dreamland after 2 hours while the mind of some wonder off into several thoughts after1 hour of reading. There are some that successfully stay awake for the whole 5-10 hours but their minds stop processing any information after about 3 or 4 hours but they are not aware and still believe they are having a productive reading simply because they are awake and are seeing what they are reading. You need an understanding of how long your mind can go coupled with the period of the day that works best for you. You can stay with 3-4 hours every morning (7 days a week) and you’ll do excellently well.
Reading environment: or better put the environmental conditions. There are different environmental conditions and we are often left with one or the other to pick from ut it is no news that quite a number of students do the extra work of pushing themselves to read in all of these conditions and they do this for different reasons such as peer influence, fear, improper reading schedule, late reading etc.
Two different environmental conditions are possible:
- The ones generally accepted as conducive and comfortable
- The ones generally accepted/regarded as not conducive and not comfortable
We often find ourselves with these two options. They both have different effects on our reading/studying and these effects can be long term or short term. The long term effects are the ones you don’t notice until during exams or after the exams while the short term effects are the ones you notice instantly.
- The conducive/comfortable environment: they are the ones without distractions, noise, mosquitoes; the ones with good reading tables and chairs (some with cushions), with good aeration and ventilation (fan or air conditioner), good lighting, good covering against either rain or sun etc.
- The non-conducive/ non-comfortable environments: as you can easily guess, they are the opposite of the comfortable environments.
All these characteristics can act singly and they can act synergistically. It does not necessarily mean all these characteristics must exist in a place at the same time before such an environment is labeled. For example, an environment with so much noise but with good covering, aeration and good lighting can still be generally regarded as a bad reading environment, judging by that single characteristic of noise.
So which environment do you go for often or always?
Many quickly run into the environments that are comfortable but they are never effective there. For example, a student goes to read in an environment with very good aeration, comfortable chairs, no noise (not even a sound). To such student and to the public, that is a good reading environment but the student goes there, reads for 30 minutes and sleeps for 2 hours 30 minutes- 3 hours because of the very comfortable environment. The environment is comfortable for reading, isn’t it? Yes, it is but the student didn’t find reading easy there. He/she slept. Another student will read for 4 hours straight in the same environment and will not sleep once.