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How to study 12+ hours per day without hurting your...

by mathboy
Tags: hours, hurting, study
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Jan13-08, 09:09 PM
P: 182
Ok, over the past week or so I have been enjoyably studying for about 9 to 10 hours per day (outside of class time). What I do is I study from textbooks that I'm not even taking courses in. I don't study just for marks, but to learn. And I would do the same thing even if I wasn't taking any courses. That's why I need so many hours to study.
Jan13-08, 09:23 PM
P: n/a
Quote Quote by mathboy View Post
Ok, over the past week or so I have been enjoyably studying for about 9 to 10 hours per day (outside of class time). What I do is I study from textbooks that I'm not even taking courses in. I don't study just for marks, but to learn. And I would do the same thing even if I wasn't taking any courses. That's why I need so many hours to study.
After Reading this post all I can say is keep at it then. I know a lot of students like you who actually did well in school and social life. It is good though that you cut down your study time by a bit, good to take a break once in a while. Seeing a you have an interesting method of studying for math courses, I was wondering: when you say you do all the exercises from the chapter your studying; do you mean you do all the questions from that chapter?

I am required to take one calculus course for my Life Science program, in my first year and I am trying to find a way to efficiently study and get all the theories understood. Some people have told me to do this very thing, as in do more than what is assigned. Would you recommend for someone like me that will only take one math course to also do this, as in do all the questions from a section/chapter?
Jan13-08, 10:05 PM
P: 182
I do every question offered in my textbook, and if I feel I need more, I go into another textbook. Doing every single question takes a lot of time, so do it only if you are willing to sacrifice hours for other things.
Jan13-08, 10:31 PM
P: n/a
That is actually one of my main concerns. I want to try and find a way to study efficiently, just so much that I can understand the theorems and be able to use them in any manner that comes in a test or exam. The reason is that this is the only math course I will take in my whole 4 years of university, and seeing as a lot of it I will not be using would be better that I spend my time on other more important courses such as Biology and Chemistry.
Jan13-08, 11:44 PM
P: 10
My desk at home is really small and uncomfortable so i tend to stand up and use my white board when I'm working out problems. If you go to Lowe's, they sell sheets of white board material for $10. The only down side is my feet hurt from this, but I need new shoes. You might want to try to get into some research with other people - it can be fun and you don't feel like the time could have been better spent.
Jan14-08, 12:25 AM
P: 182
I always type out my work and save it, because people always forget later on what they learned. This way I can always review my work later on, and perhaps modify it as I become better.
Jan14-08, 11:59 AM
P: 10
I record my results in a notebook, since typing up work in TeX usually takes too long. I like to keep it neat so I do my work out on the board or on scrap. If you write carefully your notes should be legible, but it tends to take a lot less time to write notation than type it (maybe not in LaTeX?).

Try to make the most of your time. I used to try to do every problem, but now if the problems are just calculations, I'll pick a few, and if I get stuck on something that isn't essential, I'll move on. Also, I used to copy down theorems before I proved them, and copied down definitions before making examples, but now I usually just write "proof of theorem... ", and I only write out a definition if they give it to you in words (to get quantization right).
Jan14-08, 04:02 PM
P: 182
I use Mathtype to type out my work. No coding necessary, and quick keyboard shortcuts available. It's super fast. In fact, it's faster than writing down the solution by hand because you can easily copy and paste many expressions. Plus it's easy to edit solutions when you later realized you made a mistake somewhere.
Jan14-08, 04:21 PM
P: 1,520
I think it's much better to spend time thinking and fine tunning our conceptions than absorbing raw information for several hours.
Jan14-08, 04:25 PM
P: 182
Quote Quote by Werg22 View Post
I think it's much better to spend time thinking and fine tunning our conceptions than absorbing raw information for several hours.
What do you mean by thinking and fine-tuning conceptions? You mean just reflecting over what you've learned and rereading current notes?
Jan14-08, 04:44 PM
P: 487
This is how i studied when I was taking 31 credits.
Wake up at 0800
drive to school
class until lunch.
drive to other school and have my lunch, meanwhile I do mild reading for the afternoon class.
after class, I study at library for a little.
I go play pool for an hour.
Drive to starbucks and continue my study.
go home and do some bed time studying.

Have you tried go different places to study during a day? Sitting at the same place for a long time is not a very good environment to study.

Now being in grad school, my reading has gotten more intensive and yet study at different places during the day is still a very sufficient way to study for me.
Jan14-08, 06:06 PM
P: 329
Hmm I guess I just don't see a real point in 12 hours of studying known information. It just seems like you are trying to jump the gun and get ahead really quickly. Slow down and turn some of that study time into research time. I can promise you that if you spent your time researching a topic, it will prepare you better for a future career in academics and challenge your brain more than doing problems with known solutions. Talk to a professor for some easy research ideas. Research it, write an abstract and present it.

Not only will you grow as an academic, but you will also improve your status as a serious learner. No one can really see if you study 12 hours a day, but people can see if you have done research. Use your time wisely.
Jan14-08, 07:16 PM
P: 182
I am doing research, for my current level. I'm only in first year university where only Calculus 1, Linear algebra 1, Analysis 1, Physics 1 are offered to me. Right now I'm studying the Linear Algebra 2, Calculus 2, and Topology, which is pretty much research to me because no one in my classes knows those stuff.
Jan14-08, 07:45 PM
cristo's Avatar
P: 8,317
I'm amazed that one can find enough time in a day to study for 12 hours, let alone have the drive to do so. The only time I was ever spending anything like that amount of time on studies was during exam periods, and then I had to cope with hardly any sleep. I just don't understand how you can study for 12 hours, having only one 15 minute break for lunch. I mean, what about breakfast, or dinner? What about random afternoon breaks for tea, or watching your favourite TV show, or chatting on the phone, or in person, with friends. If I planned a 12 hour day of study I would probably actually get around 7 or 8 hours done; and I'd be pleased with that!!

Many people have said this, but you don't really seem to listen: it's your prerogative. But, at least for me, university is not just about learning your subject, but it's also about learning things about yourself. It's about increasing your social skills, and maybe trying things that you will never have the chance to do again. After all, if you want to get a "real" job, then you will need some social skills. How will you answer questions at interviews without them? Whilst top grades are important, so are other things. I will guarantee you that whatever job you will go up for there will be candidates whose record is as academically sound as yours but who have other, extra curricular things on there. Who do you think will get the job?
Substance D
Jan14-08, 07:56 PM
P: 49
If you want a good stretch that will help you after sitting for awhile and you can do it using a chair...

stand up, and put your left or right leg on the seat of the chair (doesnt matter how high the chair is, but your flexibility level could prevent you from doing this on a higher chair), keep both your legs straight, keep your back as straight as you can and try and touch your toes on the foot thats on the chair, make sure you bend from the hips. This will stretch out your hamstrings and your butt muscles really nicely. Then switch feet. I hope this description makes sense :)
Jan14-08, 08:09 PM
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P: 2,327
Quote Quote by ktm View Post
I reviewed the thread and realized there were only a few posts that bugged me. It seems these few posts set the atmosphere for me in this thread. I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression.

I was also bugged that it seemed like posters here were persuading the OP to change his lifestyle. I think it makes sense for the OP to ask a research math professor how much time he or she spends on math every day, as well as a doctor concerning the health issues. I have no problem with advice stated here, and I think it can be valuable, but I don't think he should make his decision off of this thread alone.

I will take some time to criticize one post that followed my own:
"If you need to study 12 hours a day to get a 4.0, that is NOT good. That is mediocre. You ain't smart if you need that much ****ing time. Get real."

This post makes the faulty, rather shallow assumption that he's only studying to get a 4.0. Does this poster not understand the idea of studying for the purpose of learning and doing math? He could in fact be studying materials outside of his classes. He could also be doing problems or chapters in his textbooks that his professors doesn't assign, There are also situations where a student gets permission from the dean to take more than the maximum number of credits allowed in a semester, and hence has an unusually heavy course load. In fact, the entire persuasive power of this post (which merits none) lies in its obnoxious attitude, which combined with a few other posts in this thread could fluster the OP and affect his decision without any good reason. It could also make him feel unwelcome on these forums. IIRC, he hasn't posted in this thread for a while, has he?

I assume someone is going to say that my post had a similarly obnoxious attitude. But 1) my post was not devoid of content like that above and 2) there were only a few people whom I was reacting to in my post, and I apologize to those who felt targeted but were not meant to be targeted.
My post was in response to others about what it takes to get a 4.0 and how the rest of us have mediocre averages.

My post does merit credit. It's a common mistake happening all too often, especially starting in high school. If you studied like mad in high school, there is little chance you can handle the course load of university and maintain that average. From my experience, you will fail because the university course load requires more time than high school. Hence, if you're already maximum out your free time studying while in high school, you don't have the extra time university would need. All those students who are doing well in university, I found, are generally those who did very little in high school in terms of COURSE work.

I will say what everyone is dying to say...

Seriously, you need a life. A balanced one. Currently, you do not have one (balanced life nor life). That will just create problems just like a those who don't have balanced diets... they get fat. What happens without a balanced social life? Hmmm... depression is probably on the top of the list. How effective will you're studying be when you're depressed? Probably not effective at all! So, are you better off studying 10 hours a day for 4 years and going depressed for 8 years (not studying at all) or studying 4 hours a day for 12 years? You do the math.

Note I: Depression can also last for less periods of time, but it's quite common for depression to last a long time and periodically return throughout ones life and possibly even shortens ones life.

Also, social interaction can help prevent Alzheimer's. So literally, all this studying is meaningless if you'll forget it all!

Note II: A balanced life should be taken seriously in all respects and not only through social activity and dieting. Also, a balanced life can NEVER be achieved through the use of drugs for depression or losing weight or anything else.
Jan14-08, 08:45 PM
P: 487
Quote Quote by mathboy View Post
I am doing research, for my current level. I'm only in first year university where only Calculus 1, Linear algebra 1, Analysis 1, Physics 1 are offered to me. Right now I'm studying the Linear Algebra 2, Calculus 2, and Topology, which is pretty much research to me because no one in my classes knows those stuff.
I used to be like you. I studied many high level mathematics when I was in undergrad. Yes it feels superior when you go to actual class later on. However, doing better on something that everyone else doesnt know about is not as important as doing better than what everyone else is good at.

I changed my attitude toward that when I met a group of problem solvers (world level) who can use very elementary technique to solve problem that I spend so much time using high level mathematics to tackle. This is the beauty of mathematics you should pursue instead of doing routine calculation. Moreover, learning is not just sitting at the same place and do problems all day long. Go to the nature and try to apply the mathematics that you know is also a process of learning. Try to find a hobby that apply your mathematics to it you will find that mathematics is more than just 12+ of doing problems.

Back to the point, in this forum most of us have gone through what you are about to experience. If you ask for our opinion and experience and yet not humbly listen to it, we cant help you any further.

On one hand, I studied very hard and finished my bachelor in 2 years. On the other hand, I have lost a lot more than I accomplished in terms of health and social life. Other people are right about life style. What can high mathematics do to you when your world consist only one unhealthy person (yourself).

Think about what we suggested and if you decide to continue your 12+ hours meaningless study, get yourself a good chair and table to work. They are necessary condition for efficiency.
Jan14-08, 09:30 PM
P: 332
I'm curious as to what the OP's life goals are.
He has informed us he is a first year university student.
Mathboy, are you planning on going to grad school? are you trying to graduate early?
you mentioned doing research... but what it seems to me is you take that to mean researching on your own time, alone. Are you doing actual research with a professor? or merely researching topics not covered in your classes, or topics that will be covered in future classes.
You should note that at some point if not during your undergrad career then certainly in grad school or in the work place, you will need to be able to work with other people. Doing research will not always be a solo act. You will work with a team which means you need to be able to interact socially with them, get along with them. If they feel you are condescending, it will not result in a pleasant experience for them and possibly will adversely affect your work.

what do you plan to do with all the knowledge you gain form your 12 hours of studying?
is it sheerly to get a leg up on other students. Is it because you just have an inherent passion for knowledge? if the later is the case, perhaps as someone suggested earlier, take up music or another subject. If you can study for 12 hours, then surely you can double major. Try double Physics and English, minor in Philosophy, and study a foreign language. That would certainly look great on an application, that is until you have to go to an interview and have to interact with people.
I strongly recommend you to take heed to all the advice given to you. College should be some of the most fun times in your life, make it so.

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