View Full Version : Studying for an online exam, and I cannot sustain focus for longer than 2 hours.


Chimchar
07-31-15, 07:53 PM
I was recruited to work in a finance company as a Financial Advisor/Insurance Agent. The pay upon being hired is about $800 per week for the first 13 weeks and $400 a week for the 13 weeks after. Hopefully enough to move out and start a new life. I made some plans with my significant other on moving to an apartment and eventually getting married and living like normal adults.

I am required to pass the state insurance license exam, and complete the investment license afterwards.(Employer will not allow both courses and exams to be taken at the same time)

The Insurance course, which my mother loaned me $144 to pay for the online 40 hour course.

I want to finish this course as quickly as possible to take the exam, pass it and move on to the investment license.

My plan for this 40 hour course is to commit to 8 hours a day on this course, and to get this course done with in a week.

I found that there are 21 lessons in the online course in all, and 39 units in the book. I broke it down to 2 hours per lesson, 4 lessons per day.

Here is the situation I'm facing:


I am on medication and cannot sustain focus for more than 2 hours.
There are days where I am not motivated to do anything at all. That includes the course and other very important tasks.
Forcing myself to focus on the course at hand makes it harder to stay on task, and causing my mind to constantly wander and not want to continue.
Reading course material, especially textbooks are especially hard. The length of the chapter of the textbook determines my will to even bother. If a chapter is about 20 pages long, then it's hard for me to get started or even finish it. My mind would sometimes wander even when I'm reading, causing me to forget what I just learned.
I cannot take good notes for the life of me, and taking notes is a huge pain in the *** even when I have to do it. Notes such as copying texts from the book or course material word for word gets boring and painful fast.
My bedroom is the only place I can study peacefully. I can regulate external distractions easily when on medication, but it's the internal distractions, such as my own thoughts and daydreams are what's difficult.
Pomodoro technique was attempted for 1 hour for a task, and 15 minutes for a break. Even during a pomodoro my mind wanders during a lesson
.

As a result of this situation, this has caused me to take substantially longer to finish the course than initially planned. It's very frustrating and time is short.

I need some advice of how to sustain and keep working for at least 8 hours.

What am I doing wrong? And what can I do right?

**TL:DR**


Have no motivation to continue course, even when I have to.
Forcing myself to focus on a task when it's required makes my motivation to do the task worse.
Have issues taking notes.
Can't sustain focus for as long as desired.
Has no idea what I'm doing wrong, and how to fix it.

Little Missy
07-31-15, 10:09 PM
I know I sure couldn't do it. Good luck!:)

dvdnvwls
08-01-15, 12:11 AM
I'm sorry, but the obvious right advice is something you don't want to hear:

Nobody can focus for eight hours in a row, and least of all someone like us. Change your plan.

Walter52
08-02-15, 01:22 AM
I have the same problem. The best idea for me is this:

- Text in a chapter is always divided in several smaller passages, read every passage twice
- Read out loud! It really works miracles for the brain!

Let me hug you with a quote from the song "You're the voice":

We will not sit in silence, we will not live with fear!

sarahsweets
08-04-15, 02:54 PM
You are seriously worked up because you cant concentrate more than two hours in one session ??

Flory
08-04-15, 03:00 PM
Is this real life ?

namazu
08-04-15, 03:17 PM
I agree with dvdnvwls and Walter52 -- your expectations of yourself are unrealistic, so you'll need to change your strategy to suit your attention span and learning style.

You mentioned the course is broken down into 21 lessons, each with roughly 2 hours' worth of material. Is it in video lecture format? Powerpoints with narration? Only visuals with no audio? The delivery format may affect how you approach it -- reading out loud as Walter suggests is one option if it's text-only. If it's narrated Powerpoint or video lecture, could you set up a laptop in front of an exercise bike or treadmill and stay physically active while you listen/watch? Or hook up your computer to a larger TV screen and pace around the room or pretend you're interacting with the instructor...

But if you can only sit for 15 minutes at a time, let's say, don't kid yourself into thinking you can realistically plow through the whole 2-hour lesson in one go, regardless of format. Especially if you're not motivated. Plan to do 15 minutes' worth of the first lesson (or whatever your realistic limit is), take a break (stretch, walk around the block, run up and down the stairs, something physical, ideally, and something that won't suck you in, time-wise), and come back and do another 15 minutes.

If you're so focused on getting through the material that you don't allow yourself to take a break when your focus is shot, you're not likely to retain the material for the exam, anyway, and that will set you back more than taking a few days or even weeks longer to learn the material.

Do you have a note-taking strategy? Some people find it harder to listen if they're trying to take notes, while others find that jotting stuff down helps them attend to the material and assimilate it better.

If there are any practice exams available, or smaller quizzes for the book chapters or lessons, those can be a good way to preview what kinds of things you're expected to take away from the lessons (which can help you focus during the lesson), and it can also be a good way to test yourself and reinforce what you've learned.

Good luck!

dvdnvwls
08-04-15, 07:19 PM
A course with 40 hours of material is IMO not something you can finish in a week, unless it's material you already knew so well that you can completely ignore large chunks of it. I make very poor estimates, but I'd expect a course with 40 hours of audio or video to take AT LEAST a month for me to complete.

Chimchar
08-13-15, 10:03 AM
Unfortunately I don't have that month and other people have already gotten their license. I also need to finish this as quickly as possible before moving on with the investment course, which then I have at least a month to do it before state laws change the employment requirements.

Plus if I have to give myself a month to do anything then I slowly lose motivation to do it overtime even when I need a paying job right now.

dvdnvwls
08-13-15, 03:15 PM
Unfortunately I don't have that month and other people have already gotten their license. I also need to finish this as quickly as possible before moving on with the investment course, which then I have at least a month to do it before state laws change the employment requirements.

Plus if I have to give myself a month to do anything then I slowly lose motivation to do it overtime even when I need a paying job right now.

You're working to your capacity on these courses, and your capacity is about as good as can be expected. I'm sure you can improve it some, but obviously it isn't going to improve by several hundred percent in the space of a few days, which is what you say you need.

You are stuck with an impossible situation. Something has to give. IMO it comes down to making the choice that will hurt you less, or put you at less of a disadvantage. Unless these courses are far far easier than you thought (which doesn't appear to be the case), you need to make a plan that's significantly different from the one you're working with now. If you continue with the current plan, you should call it "planning to fail" as far as I'm concerned.

Needing something to be true doesn't make it true.