Find an appropriate study environment. Generally, it is a good idea to eliminate distractions as much as possible while studying, so you can concentrate on what’s in front of you. You want to find a place that is aesthetically pleasing and comfortable for you.
- Find a quiet area, such as a private room or a library. If you like fresh air, go outside to an area that is reasonably free of distractions, and somewhere you can still connect to internet, if necessary.
- Keep in mind that everyone has their own studying environment preferences. While some prefer to study in quiet, others thrive in a bustling environment that mimics white noise.
- If you don’t know your studying preferences, experiment in different areas, studying in a group or studying solo, studying with or without music, etc. Your ability to concentrate and be productive in different environments will reveal itself rather quickly.
Gather all of your studying materials. Your studying materials include things like notes, textbooks, study guides, papers, highlighters, or anything else you might need to concentrate and be productive while studying; this includes a snack like a granola bar or nuts, and a bottle of water.
- All your materials should be within arm’s reach so you don’t disrupt yourself by going to retrieve your things when you’re in the zone, studying.
Clear the study space. Clear away materials you don’t need to study, and keep your space organized to reduce stress and allow for better concentration. Having any materials around you that don’t directly contribute to your concentration only serve as potential distractions.
- This includes throwing away food containers, paper garbage, and other miscellaneous items.
Unplug from unnecessary electronics. Turn off any electronics that you don’t need, especially cell phones, music listening devices, and perhaps computers (provided you don’t need a computer to study your material).
- Your laptop or computer could serve as a huge source of distraction when you’re trying to concentrate.
Stick to a routine. Arrange a schedule for study time, and keep with it. This allows you to build studying time into a habit, making you more likely to follow through on study plans. Be aware of your energy levels throughout the day. Are you more energetic (and therefore more able to concentrate) during the day or nighttime? It may help to study your harder subjects when you have the most energy.
- Once you know the time of day that you’re more energetic, you can make sure you study during those times, increasing your ability to focus and concentrate on your work.
Find a study partner. Sometimes reviewing material with someone else can help break up the monotony of studying, clarify confusing concepts by bouncing ideas off of someone else, and see things from a different perspective. This partner can help you keep on track with your studies, and concentrate on the task in front of you.
- Some people may find study partners distracting. When looking for a study partner, try to find someone who is sensible and focused, maybe even more of an active student in class than you are. That way, you are always pushing yourself to stay matched with them.
Think of an incentive. Before you start studying, think of something that can serve as a reward for you successfully studying. For example, after reviewing your history notes for 1 hour, talk to your roommate about your day, make dinner, or watch your favorite upcoming television program. An incentive can motivate you to concentrate on studying for a specific amount of time, and then you reward yourself for your solid block of time concentrating on your work.
- For bigger projects, develop a bigger incentive to reward yourself for your extra hard work.