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How to Figure Out When You Study Best

by Team Nuggets
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Published on January 28, 2020

So, you've decided you want to earn an IT certification. One of the first things you should do is determine when you study best. This simple but important step will help you in creating a study plan — one that takes into account your personal preferences and helps your maximize your time and effort.

If you're not sure whether you're a night owl, early bird, or somewhere in between, try studying at different times in the day. Determining what time of day you study best will help you stick to a study plan better.

Let's explore how to figure out whether you're an early bird or night owl — and the benefits of being either type when it comes to earning an IT certification.

How to Know If You're a Morning Lark

Benjamin Franklin famously said, "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." If you're a morning lark, you probably agree with this statement. You may wake up at (or even before) sunrise, filled with anticipation and excitement regarding tackling the day's tasks.

People who are morning larks often enjoy the quietude of the morning to get work done before they have to tackle the rest of their day. Indeed, there are many benefits to being an early bird. According to Inc., early birds tend to be more conscientious, cooperative, and persistent. They also tend to procrastinate less. There are many benefits to being an early bird.

Increased alertness. Studying early is a great way to take advantage of the fact that we're most alert after a good night of sleep. Our brains are wired to use the sun's natural light as a signal that it is time to be awake. The circadian rhythm of the brain is controlled by the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus or SCN. Sunlight travels through the eye to the SCN to promote wakefulness. The SCN also regulates body temperature, hormones, and other functions that make us feel more asleep or awake. With a more alert mind, you are better poised to study, learn, and recall facts.

Get your studies out of the way. If studying for your exam is a chore, why not just get it done with right away? That way, you can move onto more fulfilling tasks, without putting off your studies. Or even worse, not studying.

Promotes a normal sleep schedule. Studying first thing in the morning or early in the day doesn't disrupt your sleep schedule. If you have a busy schedule, or prize sleep, studying earlier in the day can help. You won't be burning the midnight oil hacking away at your exam objectives.

How to Know If You're a Night Owl

Do you find yourself most productive and able to concentrate in the later in the day? Do you frequently find that the evenings are when you perform your best work? If this describes you, you're probably a night owl.

According to scientific research reported by Business Insider, Night owls may be more intelligent and more creative than those who wake up super early, and there are certainly benefits to being a night owl.

More peace and quiet. Many people prefer studying late at night because they are free from distractions and interruptions. Science says that distracted or interrupted studying can lead to reduced memory retention. Night owls may therefore get a boost in memory retention due to their proclivity to study in a distraction-free environment later at night.

More flexibility. Life happens, and students preparing for IT certification exams may have many conflicting demands they manage each day. So, it can be a struggle to carve out time for exam prep. For example, people who work a day job may not be able to dedicate their morning to exam prep, so late-night studying affords them greater flexibility.

Greater potential for creative solutions. If you are a more conceptual thinker, you may benefit from late-night studying. It can provide more uninterrupted time to synthesize information and review concepts. Later study hours may be one aspect of a non-conventional personality that is good at the discovery of novel, alternative solutions.

Life Happens: Study When Your Schedule Allows

Sometimes, you may have other obligations during your optimal study time. The key is to remain consistent in your studies. Make up your studying when you can. But for the most time, study the same time every day (or night).

Be creative and opportunistic with your time management, and remember that even studying for 30 minutes a day over several weeks or months can significantly improve your IT certification exam performance.

Balance Studying With the Rest of Life

Students studying for IT certification exams want to know how to study fast and effectively. The good news is that knowing when and how you study best can greatly aid in your exam prep efforts. Here are a few tips on how to study effectively for exams, regardless of whether you are an early bird or night owl.

Start studying right away. Many people put off studying until the last minute, but you shouldn't. You should know about how long to study for your next exam. Set up weekly or biweekly study sessions as early in the exam prep cycle as possible. Make sure that your study sessions occur during a timeframe that you prefer. This way, you will be more inclined to stick to your study plan and absorb more material.

Study the same time. Every time. Consistency helps establish routine, and the more you study during your optimal time, you're maximizing your ability to learn. While a routine may seem like a slog at times, consistency achieves the best results on exam day.

Study in increments. Science shows that people who study in shorter, more intense study sessions learn more than people who opt for long all-nighters. Small study sessions can add up to big results over time.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to exam prep, the more you can work with your own personal study preferences, the more successful you will be. For example, knowing whether you study best in the morning or in the evening is a key aspect of how to effectively study for an exam.

Regardless of whether you're a night owl, early bird, or somewhere in between, the key in your exam prep is to set a schedule and be consistent in your exam preparation.


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