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Some Smart Strategies to Improve Concentration and Stay More Focused

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Many students find it really hard to memorise a stack of lecture notes to ace their exams and become a successful student. Even some top-performing students experience a bit of difficulty to stay focused while studying as there are so many distracting things.

Staying focused while studying is important to improve your academic performance and receive a qualification. It allows you to learn the study material more effectively. When you’re focused, you’re able to pay attention to the details and understand the concepts more deeply. This will help you do better on tests and assignments, and it will also help you retain the information for longer.

By developing the right study habits, you can improve concentration and focus better when studying. If you can stay focused, you’ll be more likely to stick with your studies and reach your academic goals. Let’s discover some really amazing tips and techniques to improve concentration and stay more focused and productive.

Create a distraction-free study space

Whether you are preparing for the upcoming class quiz or completing an assignment, it is important to set aside a specific place to study. Minimize distractions by finding a quiet and comfortable place to work or study. It is especially important for those who usually procrastinate when studying and lose their focus. Setting up a distraction free study space can help you focus better. Whether it’s your bedroom, coffee shop, library, or any other place, make sure it is free from distractions.

If you’re studying at home, try to find a room that’s relatively quiet and free from distractions. This will help you create a routine and make it easier to focus. Eliminate all the distractions. Turn off your phone, close unnecessary tabs on your computer, and put away any other items that might tempt you to get distracted.

Organise your study materials

Organize your materials in a neat and orderly manner. Have all of your study materials in one place so you don’t have to waste time looking for them. You may also want to create a to-do list or use a planner to help you stay on track. It is always a great idea to break down the study material into bite-sized sections to master the concept.

Breaking down large tasks into smaller, manageable ones can help you maintain focus and prevent overwhelming feelings. Determine the most important and urgent tasks, and work on them first. By focusing on high-priority items, you’ll minimise the tendency to get distracted by less important activities.

Skim the material carefully

When it comes to start learning a specific coursework, it is advised to scan through your lecture notes to get an idea of how much you need to cover. Carefully check a course outline to establish the full scope of the information you need to learn before appearing on the class quiz or board exam.

Remember, the ultimate goal of skim reading is to just scan over everything, not to memorise the information. It will prepare your brain for harder learning. While scanning your notes, you may find some topics that are fairly easy, but at the same time some chapters will give you a hard time.

This way, you will be better able to identify your strengths and weaknesses as skimming will alert you to the topics or chapters that need your more attention. Keep in mind that the aim is to prepare you for your upcoming exams.

Plan your study time

Once you find out your strengths and weaknesses, it’s time to create a study session that are easily manageable. You can devote more study time to subjects that need your attention to zone in on your knowledge gaps. It will help you better understand the concepts that you don’t feel confident about. Remember consistency is the key. Whether it’s thirty minutes or two hours, devoting time to learning and daily practice can help you become a successful student.

Refresh your memory

Reviewing your lecture notes regularly and establishing a study plan is essential to refresh your memory. It will help you connect the dots on all the topics and chapters you have learned during the semester. There are many practice test questions and online quiz questions available that can test your knowledge and show you which topics you didn’t understand completely.

Try different time management techniques

Utilize time management techniques like the pomodoro technique, which involves working for a set period (for example, 25 minutes) and then taking a short break. This method helps improve focus by dividing work into manageable chunks and providing regular intervals for rest and rejuvenation. Explore concentration-enhancing tools such as noise-cancelling headphones, focus-oriented apps, or ambient background noise to create an optimal environment for concentration.

Avoid multitasking

Contrary to popular belief, multitasking actually hampers concentration. It is strongly recommended to focus on only one task at a time, and complete it first before moving on to the next. This approach allows you to give your full attention to each task and produce higher-quality results.

Practise mindfulness and meditation

Whether you are studying an MD programme from a medical school or pursuing a nursing degree, it is important to take care of your mental health. Engage in mindfulness exercises or meditation to train your brain to stay present and focused. These practices can help reduce mental clutter and enhance concentration abilities over time.

Take regular breaks

When you are not feeling focused or mentally energized, take a break. Everyone is different.  Some students can prefer long study sessions, while some can only study for 30 minutes. Sustained attention can become fatiguing over time. So, it is better to incorporate short breaks into your study routine to rest your mind and recharge. Use this time to stretch, take a walk, or engage in a brief relaxation exercise.

Optimise your physical Health

It is also important to take care of your physical health by getting adequate sleep, eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise. Physical well-being plays a crucial role in maintaining cognitive abilities and concentration.

Final thoughts

Remember that improving concentration is a skill that requires practice and patience. By incorporating these strategies into your daily routine, you can gradually enhance your ability to concentrate and stay focused for longer periods of time.

Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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