People are creatures of habit and this is true in many things we do in life. To help students concentrate better when they are studying it is important to form some simple study habits first.
- Choose a place to study that is quiet and away from a lot of other student traffic.
BSU has study rooms in the library, resident hall lounges and study areas in some of the dorms in addition to your dorm room. Try to find a place where you aren’t likely to be bothered. If you study in your dorm room post your study times on your door and ask that your friends and dorm mates respect your quiet time.
- Design your study area so that it meets your needs.
You want good lighting, and a desk and chair that are big enough so that you have enough room to work – the desk chair should be comfortable so you can focus on studying rather than how uncomfortable your chair is. A small fan is also desirable to keep the air moving in the study area and you don’t get sleepy. Make this area your personal study space and use it just for studying.
- Avoid having television, radio, telephone or cell phones that can distract you when you are trying to study.
Avoid snacking when you should be studying. Save snacking until you take a break.
- Plan a study schedule for each week.
If possible keep your study times about the same time each week. Sometimes work schedules may interrupt a set study schedule but if you plan certain times in advance study schedules will become a habit like everything else. Schedule specific times to study, rather than something more general such as “I intend to study all day Friday and get my homework caught up.” Be specific. “I am going to the library from 9:00 until 10:30 to check out books for my Biology research paper on mutating aquatic reptiles.”
- If your mind begins to wander during your study session, take a short break.
Stand up, stretch, and refocus your mind on your study topic. It is easier to study if you divide your study time into small increments of time with a specific study goal for the time period. For example. “I am going to read the first section in my psychology book the first half hour and write any notes in my notebook.” When you have completed that portion of your study plan reward yourself with a break for a few minutes and then get back to studying the next section of homework you have planned to do.
- If you don’t complete your study plan the way you have scheduled yourself, don’t be disheartened.
Many people feel if they don’t schedule and complete everything perfectly that they aren’t going to ever get it right so they quit planning their study time. KEEP TRYING. Sometimes it helps to keep a written schedule when you first start a study plan. Keep track of the actual time you spend doing each project so that you can look back and see what went wrong. Did you not plan enough time initially or did you plan too much time to complete a section of studying? Did you get interrupted and not return to your project? This will help you refine your schedule and address whether or not your study time is actually study time. Make a plan for each week and you will find it easier to adjust your schedule so that you can be more effective.