At most colleges and universities, about 10 percent of students struggle with concentration. These students typically blame non-school related distractions for their concentration problems.
However, researchers have shown that loud noises and other distractions do not affect concentration. Rather, distractions are created through the way students interpret them.
Creating a Study Environment
- Choose an area that will be exclusively used for studying
- Surround yourself with study aides
- Study in quiet areas without TVs and radios
- Do not study in areas where you’ll fall asleep or become groggy
When to Study
- Study during the early morning, afternoon, and early evening since you’ll better retain information. Avoid studying late at night.
- Study during times when you will not be distracted by friends, extra-curricular activities, or work responsibilities
- Don’t study when you’re tired. Get plenty of rest before long study sessions
- When you can no longer concentrate or become extremely tired, end the study session
How to Study & Concentrate
- When studying in distracting situations, move to a new setting
- During study sessions, jot down distracting thoughts. This will enable you to forget them and focus on studying
- Begin study sessions by identifying goals. This could include the number of homework problems to work through or pages to read
- Reward yourself for meeting your study goals, which could include going to the movies, reading a book, or other activities you enjoy
- Structure study sessions by organizing content to be studied into chunks. This will limit boredom during long sessions
- Schedule periodic breaks to clear your mind
- Do not study while you’re watching TV or socializing with friends
- If you struggle concentrating, schedule multiple short study sessions
- Schedule study sessions in advance to avoid possible distractions
- Remember that friends will not lose respect for you if you miss out on social gathering to study. There will always be time to relax and have fun
- Plan study sessions around content to cover rather than time. Constantly checking your watch is distracting
Identify which concepts are most important to understand before studying. In other words, determine the underlying concepts that must be understood to solve common problems. Also, identify your motivations for studying. If you’re motivated by a love of learning, it will probably be easier to find motivation. Likewise, have a long-term perspective. What you’re studying now may not be interesting, but neglecting to study can affect future job and graduate school opportunities.