College and university students often experience difficulties with concentration. This article will explore some of the main reasons student concentration may be low and offer solutions to overcome them.
Poor Study Environment
It is important to know what works best for you in terms of where and when you study. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you like to study with music in the background or complete silence? Do you get more done studying in groups or on your own? Taking the time to understand what works best for you is the first step in increasing your concentration. If you go against your own bodily rhythms and comfort level, you will find it difficult to settle down and focus.
Try to find an appropriate place to study and stick with it. Make up a schedule which is only for studying and let your family and friends know what your schedule is. Everybody has moments of distraction, when social plans or memories take them away from their studies. It is important to acknowledge the distraction, then set it aside, and refocus on the acitivity at hand.
This usually takes the form of getting all your books and papers together, fetching a cup of coffee and a snack, fetching a second coffee to keep you going, opening a window to cool you down, making a shopping list, washing the dishes, making a phone callâ¦. etc. etc. And suddenly, just as you are ready to start studying, you have run out of time!
One solution is to notice when time passes and you haven't accomplished what you planned. Take a minute to review your actions and note the specific way you wasted time in the same ways over and over again. When you have noticed things you do that kill your time, you are more likely to catch yourself in the act next time and AVOID it.
Another solution is to ask yourself "what is one task I can accomplish toward my goal?" This is a good technique to use on big, imposing jobs. Pick out one small accomplishment, preferably one you can complete in about five minutes, and then do it. The satisfaction of getting one thing done often spurs you on to get one more thing done. Meanwhile the job gets smaller.
Tiredness or Lack of Food and Water
It is obvious that your mind cannot work properly if it is sleep deprived and undernourished Regardless of when you study, ensure that you have had enough sleep and that your mind is fresh. Avoid sugary foods because they lead to a drop in blood sugar and fatigue. Instead, eat healthy snacks and drink plenty of water because they improve study effectiveness.
Trying to Take In Too Much at one Time
Procrasination and time wasting can sometimes lead to stressful marathon study sessions, or workload back up. Rather than looking at the task as a huge, daunting job, break it into managable chunks and pause after each chunk to make notes, mentally summarise information, and ask yourself questions. Allow yourself some breaks, for example, 20 minutes every 2 hours. If you are reading a particularly difficult text, take it a paragraph at a time and keep a dictionary handy, or look for a more general text, which does not demand such a high level of knowledge on the subject.
To fight boredom, it is important to know why you are studying, in other words, what is the purpose? Is it to prepare for a lecture, research an essay, revise material learned in the course so far? Whatever the reason, try to have a specific goal in mind and work towards that goal. Add more activity to your study. Make tapes, mind-maps or flash cards. Join a study group and discuss what you are learning. Try to relate what you are learning to your own life situation and opinions. Focus on your goals in taking the course.
With so much going on at college or university, concentration can sometimes be a challenge. You are learning new things, and being pulled in a number of directions. But the good news is that you can increase your attentiveness by setting up a good study space, identifying time wasting activities, having clear goals, and taking care of your health.