#StuVoice Guest Post via @alibelieves: SEVEN TIPS FOR IMPROVING CONCENTRATION DURING STUDY

Studying is very important to everybody, not just the student.
However, it’s good to try to be as efficient as possible.
The key factor to efficient study isn’t far fetched.
It’s called concentration.

Concentration, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, is the ability to give your attention or thought to a single object of activity.
Since concentration is a major factor to effective study, then surely its bane is lack of concentration.
Study without concentration, can be regarded to be a waste of time.
This article is written, to help you improve your level of concentration during study.

Here are some tips:

       1.APPROPRIATE STUDY TIME

Different people, different study times.
Some prefer reading during the day, others during the night.
Truly, efficient study isn’t dependent on the time of the day. But, our brains have times for optimal performance.
And the time differs, person to person.
If you are like the owl, trying to study during the day, this may not yield the best results.
And if your brain is at its best during the day, trying to study at night may not yield the best results.
The mental state of a person moves hand in hand with the level of concentration.
Therefore, experiment.
Try finding the time that suits you best.
However, studying early in the morning is preferable.
This is because the brain is fresh and ready to take in information.

       2.ORGANIZED STUDY ENVIRONMENT

The library is so organized. Different books in their sections. Tables and chairs arranged in particular fashion.
Now think of a disorganized library, one where you have to check the Physics, Chemistry, and Geography shelves to get a book on History.
Would you like that library?
No.
You would simply get tired as you search for the book you have interest in, and would probably lose interest in reading totally.

Back to reality, before commencing on any study session, put every important study material nearby.
So as to ensure that you don’t have to stand up to get something every time.
Make sure that you don’t just have books scattered around.
This would get you confused in the end, leaving you frustrated.
Set up the environment nicely, a good chair, a nice table.
However, don’t make yourself too comfortable.
This could leave you dosing off, within a few minutes of sitting to commence study.

Organization matters a lot.

       3. MINDSET

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Napoleon Hill

If you want to study, keep your mind focused on that activity. And nowhere else.

A lot of students fall in this trap, I do too.
You have a lot of things on your to-do list.
It’s time to study, and you simply want to ‘get done with it’ .
You would agree, that going into a study session with this mindset would leave you thinking about the next activity on the to-do list.

Take the art of studying as a job, enjoy it, give it your all.
Stop thinking about what you would do when work closes.

REMEMBER, the NOW is more important than the NEXT. For the NEXT to exist, it has to be NOW.

       4. SURVEY BEFORE STUDY

Yes! We all do this. Sometimes, we are so pumped up to read.
So we just pick up that book and read, read, read.
And after a while, you start thinking to yourself; “when do I get to finish this section?”
By doing this, we gradually lose concentration.
We look for where the chapter or topic ends, and start skipping the important stuff.
All in a bid to finish one section, and get to the next.

Before commencing serious study, it’s advised that you go through the study material.
Listing the sections and subsections so as to know what you are about to get into, would help a lot.

If you don’t do this, you would end up like the footballer that goes into a match without warm-up.
It ends up in an underwhelming performance, sometimes even injury.
So skim over the material before commencing, this would make for a faster and more efficient study session, with a high level of concentration.

       5. TAKING PRODUCTIVE BREAKS

A break is meant to be a time off!

I can do anything during the break!

What do you mean productive?!

Taking breaks during a study session is very important. It gives the brain time, to group and process the information just received.
It is unwise to go four, five hours or even just one hour straight without taking a break.
If you do, chances are that the information just stays at the surface, it doesn’t sink in.

In this 21st century, where the smartphone has taken over; many students fall into the trap of taking unproductive breaks.
Just a little Facebook chat, or a few YouTube videos, or even a quick try at defeating the enemy in the classic game you just downloaded.
If you have ever fallen into this trap, you would admit that you spend more time on ‘break’ than you planned.
When you finally do stop, it takes a lot of desire to get pumped up for study again.
So what happens when you don’t have enough desire?.
You simply close up and say “that’s enough for today”.

It’s advised that you simply talking a stroll,meditate, take a look at happenings in your environment during breaks.

When it comes to taking breaks, the Pomodoro technique is a lovely system to use.
Where you study for 25 minutes and take 5 minute breaks for 2 hours.

25 minutes / 5 minutes break
25 minutes / 5 minutes break
25 minutes / 5 minutes break
25 minutes / about 20 minutes break

That’s for one session. You do that for as many study sessions you want to take.

       6. DRINKING WATER

This is neglected by a lot of students. “Why in heaven’s sake do I need to drink water? I am not thirsty yet!”
I used to say before I knew how important this is.

For the brain to process information at its optimal level, it needs to be kept hydrated.
And when you don’t drink enough water, your brain suffers for it.

Drinking water, keeps you in shape physically and mentally.
It also gets to keep away the distraction that comes with feeling thirsty, during study.
According to Authority Nutrition (opens in new tab):

“In a study of young women, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches.”

“Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.”

“Many other studies, ranging from children to the elderly, have shown that mild dehydration can impair mood, memory and brain performance.”

So, drink water a lot. Don’t wait till you are thirsty.

       7. STOP MULTITASKING

In a generation where everybody multitasks, students also get to apply this in their lives.
There seems to be a lot to-do, in just 24 hours.
We just have to multitask.

Some students turn on the television during a study session, their favorite team is playing. They can’t miss the action, they also want to study.

Lilian is sweeping or doing some house chore, and she keeps taking momentary look at her book; trying to memorize stuff while sweeping.

Lola is reading, trying to figure out what dress she would wear to that party the next day, in her head.

The art of studying, doesn’t allow room for multitasking.
Anyone doing this isn’t studying, he/she is wasting his/her time.
If you are not familiar with the above scenario, then you should with the next.
You are studying, but you come across something you don’t understand, you pick up the phone and browse.
Unfortunately, you don’t back get to reading, because of online distractions.

YOU CAN’T USE YOUR PHONE AND STUDY EFFICIENTLY AT THE SAME TIME.

If you don’t understand something and can’t get a textbook, don’t pickup the phone; note that aspect and do the research later.
One hour of concentrated study is better than two and half of dilute study.

“One great cause of failure is lack of concentration.”
Bruce Lee

Nothing works fine without sufficient concentration and determination.

Improve your concentration level, by applying the above tips when next you study.

I don’t know it all.

Do you have any strategy that improves concentration levels?

Share it with everyone.

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