What is TikTok’s #CandleStudy trend and why are education experts warning against it?

Woman studying next to a candle, to represent Candle Study trend. (Getty Images)
The Candle Study trend could put young people in danger of 'too much of a good thing'. (Getty Images)

As part of TikTok's wider #StudyTok trend – made up of tips and tricks to help students revise and focus – many are now trying out the #CandleStudy method, with the tag gaining more than 17 million views so far.

But with exam season around the corner, an education expert has warned the trend will only lead to fatigue.

So, what exactly is #CandleStudy and why is it causing concern?

TikTok's Candle Study trend and the dangers explained

Girl sat studying with a candl. (Getty Images)
TikTokers are sharing how long they've studied for with the candle method. (Getty Images)

What is the #CandleStudy trend? The 'wintry' trend features sped-up videos of students studying until an entire candle has finished melting and goes out.

This can sometimes take hours. The danger is that a growing number of young people will stay studying for far longer than is healthy. The question is, are they more determined to study, or succeed in the trend?

What are the experts worried will happen? Anna Masterson, teacher and chief learning officer at Atom Learning, believes the trend can easily backfire on its followers by leaving them burnt out, stressed from information overload, and pressured by others.

What is burnout? A state of physical and emotional exhaustion, according to Mental Health UK. This can happen when you are overworked. Signs include feeling tired and drained most of the time, helpless, trapped, detached, alone, insecure, procrastinating and overwhelmed.

Burnt out boy. (Getty Images)
While burnout mostly happens in adults, young people can experience it too. (Getty images)

Exam season has made young TikTokers more susceptible. As studying for exams from SATs to A-Levels ramps up, students will be desperate for tips and motivation. While a third of five-16-year-olds believe they learn more from TikTok than school, Masterson warns this isn't always the answer.

We need breaks. “The candle trend is a form of timed exercise, which research suggests is effective for many learners, but it's possible to have too much of a good thing," she says. "Our brains require proper, regular breaks to retain information, so four-five hours uninterrupted study is excessive for most."

Girl taking a break, on phone with cat. (Getty Images)
Regular breaks from studying will only help boost productivity. (Getty Images)

Less is more. "Rather than using arbitrary measurements or competing with a candle, it’s better for students to maximise shorter but more focused time with their studies," suggests Masterson. "In fact, a single session need not last for more than 45 minutes each for those aged 12+."

Teenage boy doing schoolwork at home
Try studying in just 45 minute bursts. (Getty Images)

How parents can help. “It is important for parents to help children form healthy learning habits from an early age, so that they can figure out and have confidence in the methods that work for them."

How kids can help themselves. "Sharing and learning from others can be helpful at times, but kids should look at the content online with a critical eye, not compare themselves or be distracted by what looks appealing but doesn't actually work.” And if you have to try it, use a small candle, safely.

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