As a college student, you’re no stranger to studying different textbooks and struggling to retain the information in all of them. Studying long educational texts can be difficult, especially with the numerous distractions around school. At such times, it’s important to be able to maintain concentration.
Studies show that almost all students find it difficult to concentrate at one point or the other. But what is the solution? How do you improve your concentration level while studying? Here’s an article discussing several tips and tricks to help you prevent distractions and sharpen your focus.
What Makes Us Unable to Concentrate?
Clearly, we live in a world filled with many distractions. Based on general trends across the world modern technologies are leading among distractions that students face during studies. Modern technologies like social media and video games can be both a distraction and a blessing for students. When done in moderation, they can help students relax their brains during learning breaks. However, in most situations it’s a distraction because students often lack the self-discipline to limit usage.
According to a study published on the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, more than half of college students worldwide get distracted by modern technologies. Additionally, excessive use of most of these devices can cause addiction, anxiety, and other problems related to mental health.
Other possible factors that can make you unable to concentrate include:
- Your study environment does not support learning. This can be in the form of an uncomfortable space, a noisy environment, or an environment filled with many distractions.
- Lack of enough proper sleep which can make you feel tired and unable to concentrate
- You’re experiencing symptoms of ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
- The material is too difficult for your level or does not suit your learning style.
Once you can figure out why it’s difficult for you to concentrate, finding the right way to improve concentration becomes easier.
Why is it so Hard to Focus While Studying?
Our concentration levels and attention span vary for many reasons. However, everyone will find it difficult to focus at different times. While some people will easily turn these distractions away, others will find it difficult. Our concentration levels will greatly affect our ability to focus while reading. The most popular factors that affect our concentration levels are age and lack of sleep.
Most people forget things more readily as they grow old. Decreased concentration can also be a symptom of memory loss. Whatever the situation, an inability to concentrate can become frustrating for anyone. It can lead to irritation and stress, making it even more difficult to focus on your studies or anything you do.
If any of these sounds familiar, keep reading to find useful tips to concentrate on studying for long hours.
How to Improve Your Concentration While Studying?
Let’s talk about how to overcome distractions and improve your concentration level. The first step is to know what you should focus on. As a student, you’ll always have several activities calling your attention. Knowing which activities to sacrifice for the other can be difficult. However, you must always remember that your primary goal in school is to graduate with good grades, and you can’t achieve this without adequate studies. Thus, you need to know how to concentrate on your studies and not get distracted by other activities.
Usually, we recommend good-quality sleep, regular exercise, and a good diet to improve concentration. One mistake many students make is to study for hours without resting in a bid to absorb so much information at once. This can often be counterproductive since the brain needs adequate rest to perform optimally.
However, if after making these lifestyle changes, you still experience persistent difficulty concentrating on your studies; perhaps it’s time to speak to a healthcare professional to determine whether your inability to concentrate is because of a medical issue.
5 Tips to Concentrate on Your Studies for Long Hours
It’s one thing to study without distraction, but another thing to actually study for very long without having your attention span cut off at certain times. If you want to learn how to focus on your studies without getting distracted for long, here are tips you should know.
Set Achievable Goals
The first and most important place to start is setting goals. However, ensure your goals are practical and achievable. For example, you can finish four chapters daily for the next two weeks. While this goal is achievable, you’ll often snooze or procrastinate. That’s where resilience comes in. If you’ve set study goals, follow these goals until you’ve achieved them fully.
Learn to Prioritize
It’s not enough to just read everything you find your hands on. You must also learn to focus on the important topics. Start by recognizing the subjects and areas you need to focus on. Prioritize these areas accordingly. This way, you’d be sure that you’re only studying topics and areas that relate to your goal, and you’re not distracted by other topics that may seem interesting but unrelated to your goal.
Create a Relaxed Study Environment
Whether you’re planning to study from home or in school, ensure that you set up your room in a conducive manner. Start by making the room as tidy as possible. Clear your desk from clusters and arrange rough papers out of sight. Remember, you need a clean space for a clear mind – which is exactly what you need while studying. Studying somewhere you enjoy going also makes sense, as such places open your focus level and drive away boredom. Having decent lighting and potted plants are small steps to creating the perfect study environment. You can also add calm music and scented reed diffusers to help you relax well before and during your study time.
Take Regular Breaks
Never underestimate the power of breaks. We understand the temptation of wanting to study repeatedly until you cover a bulk material. But you’ll soon experience burnout, which is a major cause of laziness if you continue like this without breaks. Breaking down your study and revision into manageable chunks will help you remain focused and keep your brain engaged on the subject. The Pomodoro technique is a popular and effective time-management method you can try. The technique involves 25-minute stretches of focused work broken by five-minute breaks. Longer breaks (20-30 minutes) can be taken after four consecutive work interval.
We’ve talked about distractions before, but it’s important to mention it as the main reason why people don’t read for long. These days, it has become easy for people to pop into social media every few minutes. Unfortunately, your social media presence can affect your ability to focus. You can start by curtailing your social media presence during your study hours. Apps and browser extensions like StayFocusd and Offtime can filter notifications from distracting websites and apps while you read.
How to Focus on Studying for Your Exams: 5 Ways
Preparing for any exam is hard. The need to cover textbooks, understand topics and remember vital information in the exam hall can put you under intense pressure. Beyond learning how to focus on studies without getting distracted, you also want to know the best way to retain information when studying. Here’s a section that covers these. The following tips will help you focus on your studies as you prepare for your exams.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Study
One silly mistake most students make is waiting until the last minute before studying well. Yes, some students may seem good at last-minute memorization, but we can all agree that it’s not the best strategy (for most of us) to prepare for any exam. Therefore, we recommend setting up a timetable for your study long before your exams. Write down how many courses you’re doing and the days you can study in them. Then, organize your study accordingly.
Practice Past Questions
We can’t overemphasize the need to practice past questions, especially if the same teacher or exam body will still set the exams. At least, it helps you get used to the exam format. Besides, you can also know what areas of your study material to focus on. Fortunately, most of these past questions carry the time allotted for the exams, so you can test your ability to answer all questions within the allotted time.
Create Study Groups
Small study groups are an excellent way to understand difficult topics and memorize exam questions. Get a few other students who share similar interests with you and plan your studies together. During study time, everyone can pick a topic, learn about it, and teach the rest of the group. This way, you’ll have something to remember if you find any questions related to the topic in the exams.
Create Interest When Studying
There’s no best way to retain information when studying, but spicing things up during studies can help improve your attention and memory. Instead of sticking to one study method, occasionally try another study method. Set daily tasks and reward yourself for completing such tasks. Habit-tracking apps like Forest App and Habitica can help you gamify your study sessions so that it feels like you’ve completed a quest every time you tick a task off your to-do list. These apps also have features that can help you create new study habits that you’ll benefit from in the near future. You can also take occasional breaks to engage in a few fun exercises to improve concentration.
Eat and Sleep Well
Finally, don’t sacrifice proper rest and nutrition in your rush to cover numerous materials. Proper rest will help maintain your brain health as you prepare for your exams. You don’t want the distraction that comes with depriving yourself of proper sleep. After all, the National Sleep Foundation recommends eight hours of daily sleep for optimal memory functioning.
Wrapping Things Up: How to Concentrate While Studying?
There you have it – a detailed article that covers the answers to how to concentrate while studying. Whether you’re preparing for an exam or trying to understand a concept, studying can be hard. You need all the concentration you can get to focus on your studies for a few hours. Fortunately, several effective study habits can help you concentrate. We’ve covered some of them in this article. But it boils down to finding strategies that suit you and help you understand better. Continue trying the tips in this article until you find the ones that help you concentrate longer and understand what you’re studying.