Study Tips

How Long Should You Study? The Optimal Time for Learning

As a student, it’s important to be able to understand information in the shortest period of time possible. However, a common challenge is cramming – studying for hours on end, and then forgetting everything the next day.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the optimal amount of time to study and how to retain information better.

Also read: 7 Best Science-Backed Study Tips for Better Grades


Before we dive into today’s topic, let’s talk about the issue of cramming.

There’s a difference between cramming to forget and studying to remember. If this is your field of study, your major, or your future career, you want to retain that information.

Now, in terms of how long you should study, the answer is 25 minutes. Yes, that’s it! You might be thinking, “What?! Only 25 minutes? That’s not enough time to get anything done.”

But here’s the thing – after about 20-25 minutes, there’s a decline in your focus. And where your focus goes, your energy flows.

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So if you’re losing that focus, you’re losing your comprehension, retention, and overall energy around that information.

That’s where the Pomodoro Technique comes in.

The Pomodoro Technique

The optimal amount of time to study is 25 minutes. After about 20-25 minutes, there’s a decline in your focus, comprehension, and retention of information.

This is why many television shows are about 20-30 minutes long, to keep your attention and retention high. This concept is known as the Pomodoro Technique.

The Podomoro technique is a time-management method that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.

“Pomodoro” means tomato, and this technique is named after the tomato-shaped timer used to time your study sessions. Set the timer for 25 minutes, study during this time, and then take a break.

But why 25 minutes? Studies have shown that 25 minutes is the optimal time for sustained concentration and productivity. And with regular short breaks, you can actually improve your focus and mental stamina over time.

So, if you want to study efficiently and retain information better, give the Pomodoro Technique a try. It might take some time getting used to it, but it can really make a difference in your learning experienc

Primacy and Recency

Understanding the primacy and recency effect can help you become more efficient in your studying. Primacy refers to the tendency to remember the first things in a series, while recency refers to the tendency to remember the most recent things.

This means that if you study for a long time without taking breaks, you are more likely to forget the information in the middle of your study session.

For example, if you go to a party and meet 30 strangers, you’re likely to remember the first people you met (primacy) and the people you met at the end (recency). If you’re given a list of 30 things to remember, you’re likely to remember the first and last things on the list.

The Pomodoro technique is a method that can help you take advantage of the primacy and recency effect in your studying. This technique involves studying for 25 minutes and then taking a short break, repeating this cycle as many times as necessary.

By taking breaks every 25 minutes, you create more primacies and recencies, which helps you retain more information.

If you cram for hours without taking breaks, you might remember the information in the beginning and the end, but forget the information in the middle. However, if you use the Pomodoro technique, you create more beginnings and ends, which means you retain all the extra information.

The goal of the Pomodoro technique is to work smarter, not harder, and it can help you be more productive in your studying.

How to Use Primacy and Recency to Your Advantage

To use primacy and recency to your advantage, break your study sessions into 25-minute segments. During each session, focus on one topic, and review the material at the end of the session.

This will help you retain the information from the beginning (primacy) and the end (recency) of the session. Take a break after each session, and then start again with a new topic.

The Importance of Brain Breaks

Brain breaks are an essential part of the Pomodoro Technique. After each 25-minute study session, take a five-minute break. Use this time to stand up, stretch, and take a quick walk. This will help refresh your mind and prepare you for the next session. After four sessions, take a longer break of 15-20 minutes.

One of the habits of highly effective people is to “sharpen the saw,” which means to take care of yourself before you start working.

Metaphorically, this means that if you have a lot of wood to cut, it’s better to sharpen your saw first than to struggle and suffer needlessly.

In the same way, it’s better to take care of yourself and your brain before you start studying. This means eating healthy food, getting enough sleep,and taking breaks to rest your brain.

Your homework assignment is to start chunking your personal studies into 25-minute intervals using a timer.

You can use a Pomodoro app or simply use your phone’s countdown timer. When the timer goes off, give yourself a little brain break to reset, and then come back and study for another 25 minutes.

By studying in 25-minute increments, you create more primacy and recency, which helps you retain more information.

Remember, learning is not a solo activity. Joining a community can help you learn more efficiently and effectively. You can share your progress with others and get feedback on your studying techniques. Together, everyone can achieve more.

Summary and Conclusion

In summary, the optimal amount of time to study is 25 minutes. Use the Pomodoro Technique to break your study sessions into 25-minute segments, and take breaks in between. Use primacy and recency to your advantage by reviewing the material at the end of each session.

With these techniques, you can retain more information and improve your overall learning experience. Remember, studying is to the mind what exercise is to the body, so take care of your mental fitness and give yourself the best chance for success.


Tofunmi is a BA, MBA, and experienced Researcher in Business Administration and Management. He possesses outstanding communication, leadership, conflict resolution, organization, and teamwork skills. He enjoys teaching and reading books on startups, business, personal finance, investment, and more.

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