14 Mar

Thank You Ethiopian Goats

Legends tell of a lonely shepherd, wandering in the mountains of Ethiopia, who notices his goats eating the blackened berries from one particular bush. After eating the berries, the goats begin to dance and kick and run around in crazy circles. Fascinated, the shepherd  picks a handful of berries for himself. He eats them all and soon the shepherd, too, is dancing and kicking and running around in circles. His new discovery?

Coffee.

Students on campuses everywhere regularly energize themselves with a sip of Goat Berry Brew from the campus coffee shop. It’s fun, it tastes great, and it also helps you stay up Semenax late to study for an exam.

Coffee cupBut does it help improve your grades?

Research studies show the answer is yes — and no. Drinking smaller cups of coffee during a study session or before a test helps your brain stay alert, improves your memory and your grades too. Drinking a large amount of coffee, however, actually makes it worse. Your brain becomes highly stimulated by the caffeine and has trouble focusing. Your grades go down and studying becomes a frantic, useless jangle.

So, the next time you need a kick from the goat berries to help you study, please remember — small doses work best.

08 Oct

Cut Your Study Time in Half

Ready to spend less time studying and more time doing the stuff you enjoy? Consider these two items from fancy, PHd university research studies:

1) Most people are interrupted by text messages, phone calls, walk-in friends and other interruption about 20 times per hour these days. Yes – twenty times each hour. That’s once every 3 minutes.

2) It takes most of us 10 to 15 minutes to fully re-focus on a task after we have switched our attention to something new. This is called ‘switching time’. It takes your brain time to switch gears from one thing and fully move on to something else. Like when you look away from studying, see an interesting text message on your phone and then click through to the attached video. You watch the dancing puppy video and then switch back to studying. Your eyes may return to moving across the pages of your text book but inside – your brain is still dancing with the puppies. It takes a while to fully switch back to studying.

So what would happen if you cut out all the distractions? Some quick math shows that fully focused, uninterrupted study would cover 3 hours worth of study material in 90 minutes. That’s right. High focus will cut your study time in half.

So why do we let ourselves be interrupted all the time? Well … a lot of school subjects are dry, dull and not anywhere near as interesting as the distractions. We actually enjoy the interruptions. A text message from your friend is a lot more interesting than Molecular Biology. But what if you turned off your phone, step away from Facebook and left the refrigerator closed while you completely focused on studying? You could finish your work in half the time and then actually go spend some in-person time with your friend. Doing something fun too. Not just texting.

Think about it. What could you do if studying only took half the time?

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