One of famous Korean study mentor named Sung-Tae Kang, suggested his students to try studying for 18 hours straight to test their endurance/limit. He said if you have endurance to do something for 18 hours straight, you can achieve any goal you set in your life.
After I heard about this, I decided to try it out myself. I am working full-time during the Summer, so had to do it on Saturday.
I started at June 10 Saturday at 11:15 am and ended at June 11 Sunday 5:57 am.
Result: I successfully studied for 18 hours with very minimal breaks (2-5 mins/break). I was very proud of myself.
Here are my tips and discussion of my personal experience:
What you need:
- Supportive parent/siblings who would cook food for you and supports you by not disrupting you for 18 hours.
- No computer and phone. However, it’s OK to use phone as stopwatch, if, you can control phone usage.
- Enough study materials (books) that will keep you busy for next 18 hours
- Snacks? and water bottles
- Quiet room where you can stay uninterrupted
Here is what I did:
- For whole 18 hours, I studied all topics in MCAT using TPR (The Princeton Review) book. I did average 50 pages for all 7 MCAT books.
- Last 1 hour, I studied MCAT and read Sherlock Holmes for 30-40 minutes. I couldn’t study MCAT anymore… but since I barely read any books, I would like to think it as studying too haha
- First 6 hours, it was fun studying. I was very focused and enjoyed learning/reviewing concepts. When I study, I change topics every 40-50 minutes as I can’t focus on one topic for too long.
- When I get tired from sitting and studying, I got up and used flashcards to review. I would talk out loud and explain stuff in flashcards to the air 🙂 This is a good review method and good way to stay awake, at least for me.
- The last 6 hours was brutal for me. I could hardly stay focused. Moreover, the time was around 0:00am – 6:00am (time I usually go to bed). Hence, it was difficult trying to stay awake, let alone studying. Nevertheless, I did survive and achieved my goal of 18 hours study.
Food I ate: (all easy to eat while studying)
- Cereal (breakfast)
- Curry + Rice (Lunch)
- Goldfish crakcers (1/5 of bag)
- 2 French bread (Egg) and Milk (Supper)
For whole 18 hours, I wasn’t really hungry. Perhaps, I was too focused in studying, my brain could not send signal to my digestive tract. 🙂
Lessons learned from the experience:
- Drink lots of water. (I drank 1 cup of water. Generally I don’t drink much, but you shouldn’t do that.) Keep yourself hydrated as it will help you stay focused
- I learned how ineffective it is to study 18 hours straight. Nonetheless it was a good learning experience. You never know if it’s effective or not until you try 🙂
- Hence, from now on, I would only study maximum ~3-4 hours a day
- Remember, quality (staying well focused) > quantity (focus-less time) in studying
- Keep yourself engaged in studying by using various methods.
- Take a break: relax/play music/read books/bake etc for even few minutes.
- Stop studying if you get headache from using too much brain. It occurred to me after 6 hours. I don’t suggest taking medication. Take a break instead
Personal Improvements from the experience:
- Improved concentration. I focus better in same amount of time. (I solve questions better)
- I can sit and study on my desk for longer time. (I sat on the desk for 15 hours, 3 hours walking/talking)
- I know how to take effective breaks. Before, I just had too many hobbies that were keeping me from studying… But after this experience, I understand to study hard, then take a reasonable break.
- I am more confident in myself, that I can too, get good result from studying hard.
Really, key to getting good marks/success in anything is by practising. However, to do that, it would be better if you gain confidence in yourself first. I would say this sort of experience is one way to help us gain confidence. So give it a try! Finally, believe in yourself, you can do it.