When you have to learn a huge amount of information, it is usually done in one, multi-hour session. However, after an hour or two, your eyes begin to close, you cannot focus on the text you are reading and it is almost impossible to memorise a single thing. This might be caused by lack of rest for the brain.
Not many people know that the brain does not process information with the same efficiency at all times. In order to get the best results it is essential to plan and organise your studying session. The brain is at its most effective during the first and the last 20 minutes of learning, which means that it would be most efficient to split the material into thematic blocks and spend 30 minutes on each of them. Between these parts, you should take a break of no less than five but no more than ten minutes, which will allow your brain to rest but will not break your concentration levels. If your goal is to gain knowledge in different areas, it would be advisable to take turns in studying the exact sciences alongside humanities.
The brain works best when you feed it information in small portions. The break between those blocks is essential. Not only because the brain needs rest, but also because your motivation decreases when the material you are studying seems too big to cope with. The break should be used to make yourself comfortable – it is useful to apply relaxation techniques, which let us fill the time with something other than studying.
Lying on the bed with your eyes closed can be one of the ways to help you relax – it allows your body and muscles to rest. Another idea would be to exercise outside or by an open window. This would let you take in fresh air and liven up. A more advanced technique is Jacobson's training. It is about tightening and then loosening particular muscles. Yet another idea would be meditation, which is especially useful for those who have to study a lot and stay in a certain position for a long time. It lets your mind drift away and focus on reducing the tension in your body. Similar results can be achieved by a comparably simple method of diaphragmatic respiration. Usually only the chest is used while you breathe, which makes the respiration shallow. Using your diaphragm allows you to provide the body with an adequate amount of oxygen with which to support your brain and heart. Apart from relaxation, exercises also help you focus and concentrate on a given task, which leads us to the next important issue.
Concentration is an extremely important process, which makes studying more efficient and allows you to focus on important issues. It can happen that after resting, you feel a bit flustered and you need to do something to get back on track. One of the techniques that might be of use is purifying your mind and trying not to think of anything in particular. It is difficult at the beginning as the brain is cut out for constant processing of information, but after a while it is possible. You just need to try not to follow the random thoughts that come to you mind but rather to focus on the subject of learning.
Anyone who tells you that constant cramming is the most effective way of learning is wrong. You should find time for short breaks that allow your mind and body to regain strength. Not only will this result in the increase of efficiency but also in reducing studying time and boosting your capabilities.