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Falling on the wagon

Finding the time to study is like finding the time to go to the gym. It takes a while to build up the habit but, once you do, there’s little resistance because it’s become an unconscious part of your routine.

Problems arise when you get knocked out of your routine, by a holiday, or an unavoidable obstacle. Once you’ve missed a couple of sessions, resistance starts to build up. If you can’t get back into the rhythm quickly, the habit is broken.

Fortunately it’s possible to overcome this problem by making it very easy to begin studying again. There are three keys to this – clarifying (where to start and what needs to be done), applying a time limit, and having some low resistance study technique options.

If you have a copy of the syllabus and have been tracking your progress, it’s very easy to find good topics to start with. If not, then writing a study plan is an excellent place to begin.

Set yourself a short time limit based on how long you feel that you could comfortably work for – even if it’s only five minutes. What’s important is that you take some action and start rebuilding the habit, but you may find that at the end of the timed period you’re keen to carry on. It’s okay to ease back into your routine – after months without training, a runner wouldn’t try to take on a marathon in their first session.

There are plenty of low resistance study options. I’ve mentioned creating mind-maps, writing mnemonics and using flashcards in other blog posts, but there are lots of other techniques to choose from. I’ve always found that revising flashcards and mnemonics (that you’ve previously written) is an exceptionally easy way to start a revision session.

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