How to Concentrate to Study Better in 9 Effective Steps

Charles McCarthy
How to Concentrate to Study Better in 9 Effective Steps

Can't you study? Learn how to focus to study for an exam is one of the best habits you can adopt; you will get better grades and you will also have more free time.

In this article I will try to provide you with some light by providing you with a guide to work with based on a series of points that are facilitators of effective study..

Only this information will encourage you to concentrate better: to reach an optimal state of concentration it takes about 10 minutes. If you break that state, you will have to start from 0 and need another 10 minutes to focus again.

It's like driving; You need to start from the first gear, going through the second, third and fourth to get to the fifth. But if you drop suddenly from the fifth to the first, you will have to start over..

This guide can help you if you have been encouraged to return to studies after a while without studying, if you have to deal with a large number of subjects and do not have a method with which you feel comfortable or if the method you have been using so far it has not been as effective as you would like.

The deficit in organizational skills is one of the many causes of the poor academic performance that exists today. In addition, we should add the poor functioning of an educational system that does not motivate or arouse the interest of many young people.. 

Logically, many other causes could be added, since it is a very complex issue, but the objective of this article is not to carry out a detailed analysis on the subject..

On the other hand, the situation of economic crisis and lack of employment in which we find ourselves is encouraging (or pushing) many people who stopped studying many years ago to do it again. If this is your case, the steps that we offer below will help you regain the habit.

Good planning, a suitable choice of study space, taking care of food and rest, working based on a structured method and enjoying the journey are the pillars on which this guide is based..

You may also be interested in these tricks to study better.

10 steps to focus to study better

1-Organize and plan your study

The first step to increasing the effectiveness of your study is getting organized. Find out about everything related to the subjects you are going to be evaluated on: exam dates, assessable syllabus, bibliography you might need, parts of the subject highlighted by the teacher, etc..

Make sure you have all the necessary material to study: notes, books, videos, etc. If you are missing something, try to have it located as soon as possible. Having all the material prepared will help you focus your attention on the study.

A very frequent problem among students is the excess of material and that is why we dedicate a point to it later.

Time is one of the keys for a good organization. Realistically plan both the time you will dedicate to the study and the approximate calculation of the agenda that you will be able to do in that time. If you are too ambitious and set goals that are too difficult to achieve, both your motivation and your confidence in the study method will suffer..

It is important that when preparing your calendar you take into account the possibility of unforeseen events that may make you delay. Reserve, from time to time, time to cover these eventualities. If these unforeseen events do not happen, you can use that time to review content, move forward or simply give yourself a break..

Logically, if you leave everything for last, you will not have time to plan and organize your study, much less to solve unforeseen events ... so do
case your teacher and don't leave it for the last minute!

2-Study in an appropriate place

To get the most out of your study time, you will need to find (and / or adapt) the place where you are going to work. Some of the characteristics that this place should have are:

  • Make it quiet, without noise or distractions.

  • That it has space to be able to put all the material you need (notes, books, notes, computer, etc.).

  • That it has good lighting and a good temperature: studying in low light and / or bad air conditioning conditions favors the early onset of fatigue.

  • Have a comfortable chair: if you are sitting with an incorrect posture or using an uncomfortable chair, you may feel discomfort in your back very soon.

Something that we would also like to recommend is that you wear comfortable clothes when you have to spend time studying. Wearing tight pants or uncomfortable shoes is not a good idea, since you will spend many hours sitting and those discomforts will take a bit of your energy.

3-Control distraction elements

The mobile is, without a doubt, the star of the distractors. Calls and messages from friends, people talking through one of the many WhatsApp groups you have, e-mails, notifications from different applications, etc. If you want to concentrate, accept that your mobile is your enemy.

Turn off your mobile and leave it in a place away from your chair, which you cannot reach without getting up and walking a few meters. This will give you a few seconds to control your momentum which will be very useful..

If you work with the computer and that always leads you to end up on Facebook, Twitter and other websites that take away your study time, we suggest that you install an anti-distraction program.

SelfControl is one of those programs that will help you to combat your distractions with the computer, since it blocks your entrance to certain web pages and programs and you can edit the list of distractions yourself.

You should take into account everything that distracts you, not just your mobile phone and the Internet. Do you have a pet and do you entertain yourself by playing with it instead of studying? Do you study in a place where it is easy for other people to interrupt you? Analyze your distractions and keep them away from you during your study time.

4-Give yourself frequent breaks

It is much more effective to study 30 minutes focused on the task than to do it for 60 with low attention. Therefore, if you need a few minutes of rest every X time, take them. It is an investment and the quality of your study will be increased with total security.

Mind you, don't lengthen one of those breaks to infinity. If at this time it is difficult for you to maintain your attention, start by resting 5 minutes every 20 of study and see lengthening the study blocks as you get used to it..

5-Select the material well

As we have commented in one of the previous points, many students have a problem of excessive notes: they take notes of - absolutely - everything the teacher says, they print the slides that the teacher gives, they make summaries of complementary reading, etc..

At the other pole are those who have a material deficit: they do not take notes in class and limit themselves to studying with the minimum (for example, the slides that the teacher shows in class).

Selecting well the material that you are going to use to study is a very important task. Whether you end up with too much material or have too little, your effectiveness will suffer..

The objective is that you have the necessary information to acquire the knowledge that corresponds to each subject, without this meaning that you go so deep that it takes up a lot of time and you have to remove it from another subject. If you do it because you are passionate about it, leave it for a period when you have less work or study it in your free time.

6-Use your own method

You have to discover yourself which is the study method that best suits your tastes and needs. For some, the best way may be to read or underline notes, while for others it may be to make summaries, diagrams, concept maps, Power Point presentations, etc..

Try the different study methods for a while and choose the one that suits you best at each moment. Depending on the subjects you are facing at all times, one method or another will be more effective.

Summaries and outlines tend to work well for highly theoretical subjects that you have to memorize (for example, history), while concept maps can work for you with more practical content (for example, marketing).

7-Take care of your body

A good night's sleep, a good diet and an active lifestyle are three pillars that should accompany you throughout your life. Living with these three elements will help you achieve a state of emotional well-being.

Fatigue is a great enemy of students. If you are tired, you will be easily distracted and have a hard time assimilating the information you are working with. A balanced diet, good hydration (a bottle of water while you study will never hurt you) and your 8 hours of rest will give you a bonus when studying.

Exercising regularly will allow you to work your muscles, de-stress, and distract your attention..

8-Demand yourself, but do not exceed your limits

Effort, commitment and perseverance increase the chances that you will be successful in what you set out to do. Having a high level of self-demand is positive, but do not forget that it is very important that you enjoy the journey.

If you set goals so demanding that they are practically unattainable and you forget to enjoy the journey, your motivation will quickly suffer and you will find it mission impossible to reach your final goal.

So when you get one of those days that we all have when nothing goes our way, take a break. If you have one of those days, relax and don't feel guilty. If you have been following good planning, you can easily make up this day off.

9-Find your element

When the subjects you have to study deal with a topic that interests you, everything becomes much easier for you. Explore what your passion is and, when you discover it, go for it without being guided by issues such as job opportunities with certain studies or the salary you will receive.

Unfortunately, that is not common. Many students, especially during compulsory education (but also at university level) study with the sole objective of passing an exam and obtaining a certain degree.

If you don't know what your passion is, don't be overwhelmed. Not many people are lucky enough to have it clear. Something that could guide you is to answer this question: what work would you do voluntarily?

However, no matter how much you like what you study, you will always end up going through times when you have to face difficult topics or that do not attract you too much, so you will need to be prepared and have a method with which to deal with them..

The nine points that have been outlined in this guide are intended to give you guidance to help you create your own study method. Each person has specific tastes and needs, so for some it may be very important, for example, the fact of being in a quiet place and without noise to study, while for others that may not be a relevant point.

We hope this guide can help you achieve your academic goals successfully. And if you have read this article and have missed any point that you find interesting or would like to explain your experience after applying these tips, do not hesitate to write to us in the "Comments" section.

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