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We have 7 subjects to study every semester. You must be thinking "Oh that's a lot". It is not actually if you look at the exams. I am from India, here 90% of exam questions are already fixed(they come from past papers). PS if 7 days a semester is an issue then no student should be performing well. There are lots of students who perform well even though I come from a really bad college.

Now you might say I might not be as good as others in engineering and that is why burnout. I have actually excelled my academics before engineering and interestingly, I never faced this issue of burnout before. I actually used to study even more around 15 hrs everyday when I was younger. Also it is not like I am a weak student. Now you might bring your argument "Oh you can be great in college but university is a different thing", here is the catch I am good at university until the exam comes when I have to study at high pace for long hours. I actually study for 10+ hrs every single day. Now you might say "Why so?" Because I need it as simple as that. No I don't do lazy study during exams or wrong study methods. I have literally read every book there is to "how to study engineering subjects" And I have found my sets of things that work perfectly for me.

No, smartphones etc aren't my distraction. My only problem is that I get burntout after some time of serious study(generally after a week or so). The problem is that our exams last around a month, that is why getting such burnout is very harmful for grades..

This is really really hampering my grades in exams. Please don't suggest to drop courses as that is not really feasible(I am in final year and I don't want to delay my graduation) as well as I do believe there is definitely some way I can cope with this burnout rather than dropping courses. I don't believe I am not capable enough to deal with thing like burnout if I can focus 10 hrs per day studying. I simply don't know the techniques that most people know and that is why I keep getting stuck in burnout rut. I am sure those my friends who are getting good grades in exams have also overcame this. Now of course, if I ask them they won't tell me as competition is very tough in India and people are generally unhelpful specially students, they will just joke and tell "Oh i don't study that much"...and bla bla.. I hope internet is different though.

We have 3 days gaps between exams. Say today our exam occurs at 2 PM. Then we have holidays for 3 days and our exams start at 2 PM of 4th day from that past exam day.

It is not like I study 10 hrs in 1 go. I study for 45 mins and take 15 min break. That is how I do it. The only time I don't get burn out is when I study for 6 hrs everyday rather than 10 hrs. But the issue is my performance drops to below average when I study for less time as I fail to finish my syllabus.

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  • How much time do you have between now and your next set of exams? How burned-out are you currently?
    – Ben Barden
    Oct 6, 2021 at 15:48
  • We have generally 3 days gap between exams. I had 4 days gap till next exam. I was burnt out a lot for 2 days, but currently not so much. But I am asking this because I am sure I will feel this again in future.
    – preeti
    Oct 6, 2021 at 15:52
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    So you are in the middle of exams? Oct 6, 2021 at 20:17
  • yes @NAMcMahon i am in middle of exams.
    – preeti
    Oct 7, 2021 at 3:30
  • 4
    It seems you might be confusing 'burnout' and 'exhaustion,' different levels of severity. Oct 7, 2021 at 4:13

2 Answers 2

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Below are some answers to your title question. You may feel that none of these things are feasible in combination with excelling on the exams themselves. However, that trade-off is a multi-objective optimization problem which is impossible to solve, so you must find a good trade-off yourself. But for burnout prevention and/or recovery, the following things should help.


Take daily breaks. Plan them frequently, and don't cut them short. By letting your brain rest regularly, it will absorb information more efficiently during the times that you do work. Consider taking half a day or even a full day off after every individual exam; this will shorten the time to prepare for the next exam, but drastically increase your efficiency during that time.

Listen to your aging body. You say you could study for 15 hours in one sitting when you were younger, and now it's going down (although still above 10 hours). This is normal. When stuff needed to be done, I used to be able to pull allnighters when I was in my twenties. I am closing in on forty now, and I am no longer able to do this. Use less time, but use it more efficiently; with age comes experience. You, like everyone else, will need to adapt behavior over time.

To prevent burnout, take longer periods off. As soon as your exam month is over, take it very easy in the subsequent two or three weeks (if you can afford to take a month, do that; adjust length to personal requirements). A very stressful peak workload can happen without necessarily leading to burnout, but burnout will almost surely happen when you do not give yourself enough time to recover after the peak.

If you end up being burnt out, forget about recovering fast. The worst thing you can do in this situation is add more pressure on yourself to get out of a burnout as soon as possible; this will aggravate your burnout and/or lead to a relapse if you are on your way to recovery. Fast recovery is the #1 enemy of full recovery, and you should be focused on the latter.

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  • Nice answer, but the point on aging seems a little incongruous. Going by the context, the questioner is only around 18-24 years old. Oct 6, 2021 at 16:57
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    @AppliedAcademic Literal quote from the OP: "I actually used to study even more around 15 hrs everyday when I was younger."
    – user116675
    Oct 6, 2021 at 17:00
  • here is the catch again. I used to take regular breaks. It is not like that I studied 10 hrs in 1 go. I studied for 45 mins and 15 mins break. As well as I used to do yoga in the morning so that I can relax myself. Still, I get burn out it is pretty sad. But If I study a bit less say 5-6 hrs per day, I don't get burn out but my performance drops as I fail to finish studying all topics.
    – preeti
    Oct 7, 2021 at 3:52
  • @Wetenschaap - Well, 'younger' is relative, and the 15 hour study periods refer to the OPs high school tenure (or thereabouts). So technically they have 'aged' since high school, but are you really suggesting that a 21 year old (median) has an aging body? Oct 7, 2021 at 17:20
  • @AppliedAcademic 'Aging' is also relative. That's the entire point of that bit! Strategic memory, which helps with remembering names and numbers (and is therefore likely most relevant for undergraduate students in India, where I understand the focus to be more on rote learning), begins to decline at age 20. When you're 25, you can no longer do things you could do when you were 20. When you're 40, you can no longer do things you could do when you were 30. I really don't see what is so controversial about that.
    – user116675
    Oct 7, 2021 at 17:48
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Although debating the points made in the question itself is usually regarded as unhelpful, there are quite a few things wrong there. Exaggeration ("I have literally read every book there is to [...]") aside...

I have found my sets of things that work perfectly for me.

Apparently not. You are having burnout issues (and good thing you have figured it out).

I actually study for 10+ hrs every single day. [...] Because I need it as simple as that.

You need it to achieve what exactly? This is a kind of thing you can afford at 17 but your body will nope out of it by mid-20s. It is an absolutely unreasonable schedule.

No, smartphones etc aren't my distraction. My only problem is that I get burntout after some time of serious study(generally after a week or so). The problem is that our exams last around a month, that is why getting such burnout is very harmful for grades..

Congratulations, you have started figuring it out. Your friends indeed do not study as much - longer study does not mean better. In fact, no (normal/healthy) human being can possibly stay very focused and productive after working super hard for a week or so, which does indeed happen to you. Being well-rested and taking care of your bodily needs (light exercise, healthy diet) makes one accomplish more in 4 hours than some who chooses to ignore it does in 10. Going past 50-55 hours a week does not really increase output even on relatively low-skilled jobs.

Researchers do tend to work long weeks but that is not just sitting down and thinking really really hard about the problem without any breaks. There are some movements towards four-day working week which you probably have heard about. Generally less strict and fewer working days does not mean less productivity.

And finally, very very importantly...

I am good at university until the exam comes when I have to study at high pace for long hours

If you study like you are supposed to during the semester (and you seem to do or at least think you do), studying for the exam should be super minimal, to the point you reread the material for an hour or two and go for a walk in the park. Seriously, your brain health matters. Both for performance itself and more than your current academic performance could ever be.

Needing to study so hard for an exam specifically suggests it would reside in your short term memory primarily, kind of defeating the purpose of the study itself! What's the point of taking these courses and working really really hard and then burning out if after that burnout your brain would eliminate the very thing that tortured it in about two months' time?

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  • Thanks man one thing that you figured out here "you need to study hard again during exams even before you studied earlier". I will keep that in mind. I have finished studying all subjects, yet I need to study them as a whole during exams. Thanks a lot for criticism.
    – preeti
    Oct 7, 2021 at 3:11

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