Commercial Break Cramming

Published on October 10, 2016 by arothstein

Fall TV premiere season brings in a flood of new, exciting shows that air every night of the week. With so many good viewing options, it is hard to maintain good study habits. Sure, you can always DVR the shows for later, but the odds are pretty high that you will run across spoilers on social media long before you have time to watch your favorite shows. Instead of giving up on TV altogether, you need to find a way to bring TV and studying together.

One of the first things you will need to do is narrow down your weekly watch list to a handful of shows. Watch all the premieres and choose your favorite three to five shows to dedicate yourself to each week. It is easy to balance study time with TV time when you aren’t trying to fit in a dozen hour-long programs into each week.

After you have your show list, you need to turn your TV viewing into a mini study station. If you watch TV in bed, clean off your bedside table. If you prefer to hang out on the couch or in your favorite chair, make sure you have a footstool or ottoman handy that you can stock with study essentials. With your surface prepared, gather a small stash of your go-to study materials to have nearby. Use a small basket or container to keep them organized. From highlighters to note cards, make sure you aren’t going to have to waste valuable time running back to your desk or home office.

About fifteen minutes prior to the show’s start time, decide which subject you are going to work on. Choose a class in which you currently feel fairly comfortable with the material. TV study time isn’t the time to try and digest complex material or tackle a concept with which you have been struggling. Add your textbook and any notes or handouts to your study area. Take a look at your syllabus and have a clear idea of what you need to get done. On average, each hour-long television program consists of around 36% commercials. This means that you will get about 21 minutes of study time in for each program. Use this as a guideline to help you plan your method of attack.

Finally, as the show begins, be ready with the remote so you can mute the commercials. Some people can study with noise in the background, and if you are one of them, feel free to leave the TV going. During each commercial break, spend the entire period focused on the task you chose to complete. You can make note cards with various facts or unknown words. You can review flashcards you have already made. If you have a reading assignment due for class, you can break the reading into bite-sized pieces and tackle a small section during each commercial. If you are watching with a friend, have the friend quiz you on material for an upcoming test.

Over the course of a week, if you use this strategy during even three TV programs, you have gotten in an extra hour of studying. Don’t let Fall TV get you behind, use it as a way to stay focused and improve your ability to study in quick bursts.

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