We tend to remember things at the beginning of a list or study session and things at the end. By using distributed practice, we can optimize our learning.
Let's suppose that you remember what you learned in the first twenty minutes you study and you remember what you learn in the last twenty minutes. Which would be more effective? You study four straight hours. You study four different sessions of 50 minutes each. Compute the amount you would likely learn using each method.
Distributed practice allows time for things to consolidate and for you to build a basic background. It also uses what we know about the nature of short-term memory.
This is an easy principle with which to experiment and for you to see the effects. Here are a few tips:
Take 10 minute breaks after each hour of study and review what you just learned before you begin again.
Have a scheduled time to study each subject.
Make use of daylight hours and time that you normally waste.
Use flash cards
Mark each paragraph of your text book with a question or label.(This way you can read bits and pieces and put them together when you've finished.)