When it comes to preparing and studying for exams, it is important to ensure that you remain focused on the task at hand. In the digital age, distractions have increased dramatically. From text messages to social media, games, TV, and more there are a plethora of external distractions. On top of this, you often find your mind wandering.
In this article, we will provide you with tips on how to focus when studying so that you may be properly prepared for your upcoming exams.
How to Focus Better When Studying
When you remain focused during a study session, you are more likely to work through your course material more effectively and retain information. However, focusing can sometimes be a challenge. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to help yourself focus while studying.
Create a Dedicated Study Space
The first thing you should do leading up to exams is create a space that is dedicated to studying. Perhaps you already have a desk set up somewhere in the home, or maybe you’ll take over the dining room table during this period. However, having a space you can call your own for the duration is essential.
Ideally, this space should be quiet, well-lit, and comfortable. You can also set this space up to have all of the study materials you require, including books and stationery.
Once this space has been created, you will mentally associate this space with focused work which will make it easier to tune out distractions.
Communicate Boundaries and Needs
Whether your study space is located in a shared space or is your room where you can close the door, it can be beneficial to communicate boundaries with your family.
Discuss your study sessions with them and politely ask them not to interrupt you while you are studying. This will allow you to focus and will prevent interruptions that break your focus or train of thought.
By clearly expressing your needs, you will be offering your family the opportunity to support you in your learning objectives.
Plan Your Study Sessions
Planning your study sessions and how you will approach them can be exceptionally beneficial.
Setting small attainable goals for each study session will help you work through your course material effectively. It will also keep you motivated as you will have a feeling of accomplishment every time you achieve a goal.
Remember to set aside more time for those subjects and concepts that you typically experience difficulty with. This will ensure that you have enough time to understand those concepts before writing your exam. You can also consider signing up for extra tutoring if you feel like you have hit a wall with a certain concept or subject.
Make Use of Time Management Techniques
While it might seem like a good idea to study for 5 hours straight, there are certain time management techniques that have been proven to work more effectively.
For example, the Pomodoro Technique makes use of study sessions that are 25 minutes long. These sessions are broken up with 5-minute breaks. This cycle can be repeated a few times before taking a 15-30 minute break. This technique will encourage hyper-focused study sessions and will make it easier to work intensively on study material.
Reward Yourself with Regular Breaks
Taking breaks is essential to preventing mental fatigue and should, therefore, not be underestimated. For example, studying for long periods of time can actually diminish your ability to concentrate and will increase the chances of your mind wandering.
If you have decided to make use of the Pomodoro Technique, then you will automatically take regular breaks. These times of rest are a good opportunity to do something else that completely takes your mind off of studying.
In your longer breaks, you can even include a bit of exercise or stretching. This will help increase blood flow and even gives you a little endorphin boost which will refresh you for your next bout of studying.
Remove Digital Distractions
While it might be tempting to keep your phone close at hand, this is counterproductive. While studying, it is important to remove all forms of distraction from your environment. If there is nothing there to distract you, then you are more likely to focus.
You can also leverage this as a reward system. For example, for each study session completed, you can reward yourself with access to a distraction of your choice for a short period of time. This will turn distractions into motivators to focus on the task at hand.
Remember, the best way to approach something is to just get started. Don’t put off studying until the last minute as this could cause more stress and anxiety than needed. We hope that these tips on how to focus when studying come in handy and help you focus more effectively.