How can I get myself to study for more than 14 hours a day…..?

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I have very important exams coming up. How can i get myself to focus completely for more than 12 hours atleast for a month?

I used to study around 16 hours a day during September 2015 – January 2016. I was preparing for JEE Advanced ( An entrance exam for admission in Indian Institute of Technology, the best engineering institute of India ). JEE Advanced is one of the most difficult exams in the world at high school level. It has an extremely cutthroat competition. I managed to get an All India Rank 247 among 200,000 students which were selected among 1,200,000 (1.2 million) students. My subjects were:

Mathematics – Considered as most difficult among all

Physics – Moderately Difficult

Chemistry – Not too Difficult

I had a very less time as compared to a normal candidate, perhaps one fourth of a normal candidate. But there was a kind of madness in me for IIT. I was extremely determined to reach IIT at any cost. I could sacrifice anything for IIT. My parents had a lot of hopes from me. This was a chance to raise my social standard to a next level. These were my motivations for studying for the whole day.

Now it was a big challenge to push myself out of that backlog of syllabus and clearing JEE Advanced. It needed master strategies and a lot of hard work. One day I sat and wrote my timetable which I followed for the next 6 months. With that time table I could maximise my efficiency and minimise the wastage of time.

My timetable used to be like this :

  • Divide your time between Physics, Chemistry and Maths so that you can study each of them daily.
  • Wake up daily at 7 AM. Just brush your teeth and wash your face and have breakfast. Don’t take bath in the morning.
  • Always start your day with maths. In the beginning of the day, you are very efficient and mathematics is the one subject which needs whole of your brain. I used to start with 5–6 hours maths daily.
  • After doing maths, the clock strikes around 2. Now you will feel exhausted. At this time you may take your bath and have your food. Due to the bath, you will regain the freshness of morning. I couldn’t afford more than one bath a day due to time constraints. And now you may start with Physics or Physical Chemistry topics. These topics require a relatively lesser brain. Study them for as long as you can and then switch to the Inorganic and organic chemistry.
  • When it is around 7 you can switch to the organic and inorganic chemistry because these subjects require a lot of theory and lesser brain.
  • When you are near the end of your day ( I ended at around 1 or 2), just plan what and how will you do the next day.
  • Solve problems in the morning and theory in the evening. Solve problems on whatever theory was studied by you overnight.
  • This is a pic of mine taken by my brother during that phase!

    Following such a timetable was not an easy task in the beginning, but I pushed myself a lot. I used to drink a lot of coffee those days. I used to lie myself to study more like a mother who lies her child that drinking a glass of milk would turn him bigger. But in a few weeks, studying that much became my habit and finally I reached a big success in the exam and got what I had dreamt.

    I would advise the readers to take care of their health during such a tough study phase. You can see there is no space for exercises or any physical activity in this timetable. This proved to be very harmful to my health. I got a 15 Kg weight gain in just 4 months. I also developed intense back pain due to such long sittings per day for such a big time period. I still can not recover from back pain. Studying is a good habit but one should keep these things also in mind:

    • Modify this timetable according to your situation .
    • One must add morning walk in the timetable because bad health will affect your studies as well as the life after this study phase. I still suffer from  intense back pain.
    • Never eat fatty food in such a phase as I used to do. Increasing weight also increases the risks of increasing back pain
    • Sleep for at least 7–8 hours.
    • Don’t sit continuously for more than an hour. Just take a five minute walk break after every hour.