Improving Your Concentration
Clarify Your Career Goals
Try to define your career goals - this can help increase motivation and focus on the work that is needed to accomplish your goals.
Look for the relationship between your likes, what you are studying, and some of the challenges you may face in your chosen career.
Research information and gain experience if possible in your field of interest. By doing this, your goal can seem more immediate.
Clarify Your Study Goals
Have you thought about and set realistic goals for your study session? Try not to set your goal as too large or vague, such as…”I will study all weekend in order to learn that material.” Make sure that the time block is set aside and that the goal is reachable.
Have you organized your tasks and in which order you would like to have them completed? Sometimes it helps to work on less interesting or harder subjects first when you have more energy.
Have you planned a reward for yourself after successful completion of your study goal? Sometimes being able to reward yourself for completing what you wanted to accomplish can be just enough incentive to help you through.
Getting Physically Focused
Focus your mind – Meditation, clear your thoughts
Relax your body – Yoga, Tai Chi, breathing exercises
Increase physical activity – working out, sports, exercise
Take up a hobby – arts, crafts, music, etc.
Taking deep calming breaths, focusing your eyes on your work and staying in the present can sometimes help. Continue to take deep breaths to let your mind rest, when needed. Learn strategies to help you calm your mind, then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.
Fight the Battle of Fatigue
Make sure to take regular study breaks: 10-15 minutes per every hour of study.
Find the time when you are at your best. Are you a morning person? Evening person? What that means is that you have more energy and can focus more during those times. Find that time and use it for studying and getting things done while you are at your best.
Are you getting enough sleep at night? You know how much you need to function well. Try to avoid taking daytime naps.
Reducing External Distractions – be aware of your study environment
Find just one or two places to study so that all you do there is study – you are trying to build a habit of studying when you are in this place.
Limit this space to only studying, not talking on the phone, emailing, writing notes, sleeping, etc.
Once you find a place try and make sure it HAS the following:
- Good lighting
- Limited distractions, such as a T.V., telephone, roommates, family members, etc.
- Comfortable chair, but not too comfortable
- Good ventilation
- Nice sized desk or work space for all your materials
Make sure you have all the material you might need in order to study efficiently and effectively. You are trying to save time and extra stress by limiting your study areas and by making sure all your supplies are at hand. Also, if you are a commuter student – try and stay on campus to study (less distractions than at home).
Get Organized !!!
Write down your academic tasks for the month or even whole semester. Then, work on breaking them up into smaller more manageable tasks. Use a calendar or student planner to help map this out.
On the weekends, try and make up a realistic plan for the upcoming week.
Each evening, make up a plan or a to-do-list for the next day. Don't put too many things on the list… it is better to complete everything on the list than to not complete it and carry things to the next day. Sometimes, the shorter the list the better.
By getting more organized you might be able to reduce some stresses in your life and feel like you are accomplishing more, in turn your mind will be more free to concentrate on what you want to.
Make studying an ACTIVE process
When studying ask yourself questions aloud or read aloud
Don't forget to ask questions in class
Take good notes in class and pay attention to what is being lectured on
Make sure you are attending your classes
Review your notes right “before” and “after” each class
Join a study group or start your own – groups can make studying more lively and interesting
Get help when needed - tutoring, study labs, TA's, professors, Center for Student Success, etc.