The Pomodoro Technique: The Study Hack Everyone Is Talking About

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed at the idea of getting stuck into a revision session? Do you sometimes find yourself struggling to focus or concentrate properly when studying? If you think that any mental barriers are getting in the way of your progress and your learning, the chances are that you need to seek out a new revision technique.

Therefore, I am going to introduce you to one of my favourite-time management strategies for studying. It's called the Pomodoro Technique, and recently has become more popular due to its work from home efficiency- boosting strategy.

The Pomodoro Technique
The technique was created by Francesco Cirillo during the 1980s, who first experimented with it when studying for his university exams. Frustrated by the pressures of deadlines and assignments, he developed the Pomodoro Technique as a way to work with time, instead of struggling against it.

Pomodoro is an Italian word, and when translated means 'tomato' in English. So what's the connection between the fruit and popular study method? The name comes from the tomato shaped timer which Cirillo first used to measure his sessions. In the study technique, each 'package' of study time is referred to as a 'pomodoro.'

How To Follow The Technique?
It's extremely easy and low tech.

This is what you need:
-A timer (don't use your phone, it's too distracting)
-Your study materials

There are six steps to follow:

  1. Decide on the task to complete (for example, study for Clasital IGCSE Biology MaX Course)
  2. Set the timer to 25 minutes
  3. Start the task (do not stop or change the task)
  4. Stop when the timer rings
  5. Take a 5 minute break (get up from your desk, briefly check your phone, drink water)
  6. Repeat

Once you have completed three or four repetitions you can take a longer break, (30 minutes) where you can go outside and get some fresh air and also grab a snack.

Top Tips:

  1. You still need to make sure that you have a revision plan and a timetable, as these will ensure that you cover all the essential content.
  2. At the start of each day, decide what you want to achieve in each of your pomodoros. This will save you time during your breaks, as you will already know what you need to tackle in the next session.
  3. If you have time left over, use it to re-revise the content or to reflect on your progress. Don't be tempted to stop early, as this will disrupt your flow.
  4. Pay attention to your natural patterns of productivity. For example, if you are a 'morning person', try to fit in your daily pomodoros before lunch. If you are a 'night owl', sleep slightly longer into the mornings so that you have more energy to complete your pomodoros in the evening.

    Why Does It Work?
    Once you've mastered this technique, you can expect to achieve more, feel more motivated to complete tasks, and be less distracted during your study periods.

This is because the Pomodoro Technique hacks your brain to your advantage. Rather than feeling like you have endless time in the workday to get things done and the ultimately squashing those precious work hours on distractions, you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress on a task as possible. Having a definite goal delivers the urgency you need to be productive.

The frequent mini-breaks and changes in focus prevent mental fatigue, and helps keep things fresh and interesting.

You could even try to use this technique when trying to complete chores around the house, or to work through your 'to-do-list'.

Want To Explore The Technique Further?
All of the information above should be enough for you to give this method a try, but if you're interested and would like to learn even more, here are some resources for you:
WATCH this short Youtube Video
DOWNLOAD one of these timer and tracker apps
READ the handy Cheat Sheet from Queen's University

Have you tried using the Pomodoro Technique? Do you have any advice for fellow students, or questions for our team? Get in touch by sending us direct messages or leaving a comment on our social media platforms (@ClasitalHQ)

If you're looking for more revision advice from our experts, you'll find everything you need on our blog.