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Pacing Yourself for Better Learning

If you were running a marathon and your goal was to finish the race, you would pace yourself so that you would not "run out of gas" early on. The same principal applies when you are studying and learning. You should pace yourself by studying in small doses.

Your retention will be improved if you study for small periods of time, such as 20 minutes, followed by a short three- to five-minute break and another 20-minute study session. For example, if your goal is to study for one hour, your retention will be improved if you break this down into three 15- to 20-minute periods with short breaks between study periods.

The reason for this is the typical adult learner has an attention span of about 10 to 20 minutes. If you're average, you can probably stay fairly well focused for about 15 minutes. If you're a little better than average, you may be able to "tolerate" about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, you probably aren't sure if you're staring at the study material or if it's staring at you. That's why spacing your study time apart in small segments is better than spending one or two continuous hours.