- Get a dedicated space, chair, table, lighting and
- Avoid your cell phone or telephone.'
- Put up a sign to avoid being disturbed or interrupted.
- If you like music in the background, OK, but don't
let it be a distraction. (Research on productivity
with music versus without music is inconclusive).
- Stick to a routine, efficient study schedule. Accommodate
your day/nighttime energy levels.
- Before you begin studying, take a few minutes to
summarize a few objectives, gather what you will need,
and think of a general strategy of accomplishment.
- Create an incentive if necessary for successfully
completing a task, such as calling a friend, a food
treat, a walk, etc. For special projects such as term
papers, design projects, long book reviews, set up
a special incentive
- Change topics. Changing the subject you study every
one to two hours for variety.
- Vary your study activities.
- Alternate reading with more active learning exercises.
- If you have a lot of reading, try the SQ3R method.
- Ask yourself how you could increase your activity
level while studying? Perhaps a group will be best?
Creating study questions?
- Ask your teacher for alternative strategies for
learning. The more active your learning, the better.
- Take regular, scheduled breaks that fit you. Do
something different from what you've been doing (e.g.,
walk around if you've been sitting), and in a different
- Give yourself a reward when you've completed a
- Research has proven that people who use a worry
time find themselves worrying 35 percent less of the
time within four weeks. Set aside a specific time
each day to think about the things that keep entering
your mind and interfering with your concentration.
When you become aware of a distracting thought,
remind yourself that you have a special time to think
about them. Let the thought go for the moment and
keep your appointment to worry or think about those
distracting issues during the specific worry time.
- Maximize your energy level. When is your energy
level at its highest? When are your low energy times?
Study your most difficult courses at your high energy
times. Sharpest early in the evening? Study your most
difficult course then. Later in the evening? Work
on your easier courses or the ones you enjoy the most.
Most students put off the tough studies until later
in the evening when they become tired, and it is more
difficult to concentrate. Reverse that. Study hard
subjects at peak energy times; easier ones later.
This alone can help to improve your concentration.
- Visualize. As an exercise before you begin studying,
think of those times when concentration is not a problem
for you--no matter what situation. Now try to feel
or image yourself in that situation. Recapture that
experience immediately before your studies by placing
yourself in that moment. Repeat before each study
Counseling Services, Kansas State University