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How to Concentrate on Studies

Four Parts:Creating an Environment for Proper ConcentrationStaying FocusedMaking Concentrating EasierUsing Technology To Your Advantage

Are you having trouble concentrating on your studies? Well, don't worry – it happens to the best of students. To concentrate on your studies, you may just need to shake up your study patterns, study in a quieter place free of outside distraction, try a new technique, or simply come up with a really effective study plan that allows your mind breaks as often as you need. Experiment until you find what works for you. With the right set-up, concentrating should be easier.

Part 1
Creating an Environment for Proper Concentration

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    Choose the right spot. A quiet place with a suitable environment. Whether it is your room or a library, choose an atmosphere that is silent & free of distractions in order to concentrate. It should be away from the TV, pets, and anything else that spells for an easy distraction. What's more, you want a comfy chair and good lighting. There should be no strain on your back, neck, or eyes – pain is also a distraction.
    • For example, do not study right in front of a TV; you will only do your homework when the advertisements come up. Go to get a "snip" of TV or radio only as a quick break – exactly as if it's a few moments to go to get a drink of water or "fresh air" for a minute.
    • Sit in a chair at a table or desk while you study. Don't study in bed, except maybe reading on top of your covers, propped upright with a bright reading light behind you. However, don't get under the covers – you'll just want to fall asleep. What's more, you'll start to associate your bedroom with studying and that's definitely an impulse you want to avoid.
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    Have everything you need to study. Your pencils and pens, highlighters and books should be within your reach so that you are not distracted while studying. Organize the area, if need be, so the clutter doesn't clutter your mind. There should be no reason you have to get up, interrupting you from being "in the zone."
    • Even if you're not sure you'll need it, it should be in your "study area." All the textbooks, notebooks, and papers you need (remember that syllabus) should be within arm's reach. This is quite literally a set-up for success. Use your laptop if it is necessary for your studies otherwise keep your laptop away from you.
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    Have a snack nearby. Try to keep it to something simple that you can repeat, like a few nuts, blueberries/strawberries, 1/4 an apple, or break off a piece of a dark chocolate bar. Keep water nearby, too – don't drink too much coffee, caffeinated teas, or any energy drinks (you'll be up all night long). They inevitably lead to a crash that makes you feel dead-tired – and pinching and slapping won't fix it.
    • Looking for some "super-foods?" Research shows that blueberries, spinach, squash, broccoli, dark chocolate, and fish are all brain-boosting foods that can help you get your study on.
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    Write down your study goals. For just today, what do you want (or need) to get accomplished? What should you do to be able to walk away feeling like you've done all you needed to do? These are your goals, and it will give you something to work toward during your study time.
    • Make sure they're doable. If you have to read 100 pages this week, break it down to 20 pages a day – don't bite off more than you can chew. Keep in mind your time constraints as well. If you only have one free hour tonight, do the most important thing to get done?
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    Make sure your cell phone and other electronic devices are turned off. This will help you avoid temptations to be off-task and allow you to stay on your plan. Only use your computer, if you need it for your studies; otherwise, it's just an unnecessary risk. As for your phone – put it in airplane mode unless you need it on for an emergency.
    • There are website and software blockers like SelfRestraint, SelfControl, and Think that can keep you away from the websites and software that are the hardest to resist.[1] Understand yourself and whether you need Facebook to be blocked for the next hour or so. Don't worry – it'll come back.
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    Consider playing background music softly. For some people, music helps them concentrate. For some, it doesn't. Try it out and see what works best for you. A little something in the background can make you forget that you're just studying instead of out having fun.
    • Keep in mind that the music that's right for you to study to may not be the music you traditionally like. Traditionally music that you don't know is better because recognising a song makes your mind wonder or even sing to it. Experiment with listening to other genres to see whether there's something you enjoy but can easily tune in and out.
    • Try to use a background noise generator that plays natural sounds such as bird chirping, rain, river stream or other pleasant sounds in order to help you study. There are several free tools available online.

Part 2
Staying Focused

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    Make a timetable. If you have a long night of studying ahead of you, make a plan for the day. Aim to work for 30-60 minute periods with 5-10 minute breaks in between. Your brain needs the break to recharge. It's not laziness – it's letting your brain synthesize the information.[2]
    • Try to switch subjects every hour or so, too, to prevent yourself from getting bored and saturating your mind. Too much of one subject and your brain will start going on autopilot. A new subject will wake up your mind and your motivation.
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    Set aside time to worry or think about other things. Sometimes it's hard to study because the real world keeps creeping into our minds, good or bad. We feel like we don't have control over our thoughts, but we do. Tell yourself that you'll think about that problem or that girl or boy when you're finished. You'll feel a bit of solace knowing you'll get to it eventually. And when the time comes, the urge may have actually passed.
    • If you start to feel your mind wander, stop it dead in its tracks. Take a second to shake it off, and then resume with the material. You are the ringleader of your thoughts. You started them, and you can stop them, too!
    • Keep pen and paper besides you and write down everything that comes to your mind during your study sessions. Do or think about those things once you're having a pause.
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    Switch up how you learn. Let's say you just got done reading 20 pages of a textbook. The last thing you should jump into is 20 pages of the next textbook. Instead, do a quiz with some flashcards. Make a few charts to help you remember those economics stats. Listen to those French tapes. Do some studying that involves different skills and different sections of your brain. Point blank, you'll be less bored.
    • And it'll be easier for your brain to process, too. Switching up what skills you're using helps you brain process the information faster and hold onto it. The time will go faster and you'll remember it better? Check and check.
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    Reward yourself. Sometimes we need a little pick-me-up to keep ourselves going. If the good grades aren't enough of a reward, create something else to keep you concentrated on your studies. Maybe some sweet treats and some noshing time in front of the TV? A shopping spree? A massage or a nap? What would make studying worth your while?
    • If possible, get your parents involved. Could they help supply you with incentive? Maybe getting better grades could get you out of your least favourite chore or could temporarily up your allowance. Ask them whether they're willing to help work out some type of reward plan – it never hurts to ask.
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    Backtrack, if need be. Have you ever been handled a pile of paperwork and wanted to fill it out, but you just didn't know what some of it meant? That can be what studying is like sometimes. Recognize when you need to go back and make it simpler. If you don't know the basics, don't try to tackle the content. Parse it out first.
    • When a question comes up saying, "What was George Washington's stance on the Boston Tea Party?" it'll help to know who George Washington is. Figure that out and then move onto the content at hand.
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    Make studying more active. Teachers know it, but they'll rarely say it: reading can get boring, especially when it's in a topic you don't enjoy. To make your studying more effective and to make it easier to concentrate, use active reading techniques. This'll keep your brain from wandering and make sure your grades stay top drawer. Here are a few ideas:
    • Ask yourself questions as you read.
    • Look away from the page and summarize out loud what you read.
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    Make notes on the concepts, characters, plots, or events described. Use as few words as possible and brief examples to tell what you mean to say. Abbreviate the spellings of what you write in your notes. Note page numbers, titles and authors of books in case you need to refer to them again for a bibliography or another reason.
    • Create a quiz as part of your note making, as you read and use it later for checkup and a review.
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    Get on the Internet, and then get right back off after your break. During your break, make your time online count. Get right on Facebook. Turn your phone on and check for texts or missed calls. Don't spend time answering them right then unless there is an emergency. Take part in all your favourite break activities – but only do so for a few minutes. Get it out of your system, and then get back to studying. You'll feel a little better having been "plugged in" and "connected," even if was just for a few minutes.
    • This little recharging session will do wonders for your focusing ability. You may think it could be distracting and get you off course, but ultimately you'll be able to get more done.[3] As long as you use your break wisely, that is.

Part 3
Making Concentrating Easier

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    Listen to your body. The fact of the matter is that we all have high-energy periods of the day and super low-energy bouts, too. When are yours? If possible, study during your high-energy time. You'll be able to focus better and retain the knowledge you're inputting into your brain. Any other time will just be an uphill battle.
    • For some people, this will be bright and early in the morning when they still have plenty of energy for the day. For others, they get their juices running at night, after powering up for a while. Whichever is yours, listen to your body and study during that time.
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    Get enough sleep. The benefits of sleep are practically innumerable. Not only are your hormones regulated and information synthesized, but it helps you fire on all pistons the next day, too. In fact, trying to focus while overly tired is physically similar to trying to focus while drunk.[4] If you can't concentrate, this could be why.
    • Most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Some a little more, some a little less. How many hours do you like to sleep, when you don't have to set an alarm? Try to get that every night by going to bed a bit earlier than usual, as required.
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    Eat healthy. You are what you eat after all, and if you eat healthy, your mind will be healthy, too. Aim to eat your favourite colourful fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats and dairy, nuts (not greasy fries/chips and fattening candy), and good fats, like the ones in dark chocolate and olive oil. A healthy diet will keep you more energized and make it easier to put your mind to the test.[5]
    • Avoid white foods like white bread, potatoes, flour, grease and sugar. They're just "dead" foods and sugary drinks that cause you to crash in class and at study time.
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    Take control of your thoughts. You are your motivation when it comes down to it. If you convince yourself you can focus, you can. Grab your mind by the horns are start thinking positive: you can do this and you will. There's nothing stopping you but you.
    • Try the "5 More" rule. Tell yourself to do only five more things or five more minutes before quitting. Once you've finished those, do another five. Breaking tasks up into smaller chunks makes things easier for those with shorter concentration spans and it keeps your mind going longer.
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    Do the least pleasant tasks first. While fresh, you can sizzle with the highest powers of concentration at your disposal. Do the most critical and deep background concepts early before moving onto easier (less challenging) but necessary grinding out of details. If you do the easier tasks first, you will be thinking about and stressing about the harder ones the whole time, reducing your productivity and ability to focus.
    • That being said, avoid bogging yourself down when reading, or getting stuck and defeated on difficult problems or essay questions. Sometimes the least desirable part of an assignment may be too time-consuming and it could drain/kill all your available time. So try to limit your time and self-supervise to move on to easier matters, if absolutely necessary.

Part 4
Using Technology To Your Advantage

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    See whether alpha wave sound tones will give you, the listener, improved focus, memory and concentration for study and other activities. Search on YouTube for a BiNaural Beat, and use of headphones or earbuds are required. If BiNaural Beats work for you, this will be like magic!
    • Listen while studying. For best results you should listen on a low to medium volume during your study period. Prolonged use is not harmful.
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    Follow all the concentration steps and tips. When combined with a good timetable, food, rest and anything else that benefits your study, this track may improve your memory.[6] Study is such an important part of life and to learn how to maintain good focus and concentration is a lifelong skill.
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    Check how the environment sounds after the BiNaural Beat. After listening for a few hours your ears will take a few minutes to readjust to the normal ambient sounds in the room. It is perfectly normal, if your hearing is a little distorted. Many other strange effects are possible with BiNaural Beat, but for the majority they work.
    • Headaches are normal for about 10-25 minutes, this is your brain adjusting to the beat. If it does not subside after 30 minutes, better to leave this out of your routine.
    • Music can also be played along with the beat to make the sound more appealing. Together they may aid further in concentration.


  • Highlight important words and sentences and review them over and over again to make them stick in your mind. Close your books and say it aloud or write it down.
  • Make tasks for each day to see that you complete your work in your given period of time.
  • Figure out your study habits, such as re-reading previous notes or pages in a textbook.
  • Think that you can score the highest and you can do it . Leave everything and just look at your book. Don't just cram it. You should also understand it.
  • Persistence (keeping on it) is the secret in medium, longer term goals, get some talent (pursue what you want to become good at a higher level: start to do develop your ability; desire it and follow through to shape your talent/or skill).
  • It helps to think about what you'll be doing, if you flunk and get an "F" or under 35 marks. Think about this and it will compel (or "entice") you to do better.
  • Alternate nipping, snipping bits of fruit or snapping off bits of food; a sip of chilled juice (from a spill proof container/sealed thermos), beef jerky and water, to kill hunger, etc. -- to help you stay alert/awake, satiated, but wanting more.
  • Set periodic goals and work them through. Always remember: "What you believe, you can achieve." Your dreams (or hopes) can come true by setting goals and achieving your "hopes" step-by-step (college, career, family). Daydream about your possible futures!
  • Think about that you will go for the [other] good things after you have completed your main goals, postponing short term goals of self-gratification to make the time for realizing your longer term, bigger goals (dreams/and schemes of you better/best life).
  • Some college libraries make the employee snack area open to students during finals and even stay open extra hours/all night.
  • Make sure that the room you're studying in has bright lights so it helps your eyes to focus.
  • Keep a goal or a challenge you want to achieve. This will help you to concentrate and work hard to achieve that goal. Say to yourself, "Right, I'm going to ignore my phone/ computer and study for 30 minutes then I'll go on my phone for 10 and study some more." Giving yourself a realistic good study period and allowing yourself a break in between.
  • Don't just read something over and over. Read it slowly enough to think about and explain to yourself its deeper meaning. Try to express what it really means--if you "get it"--and remember its meaning. If you can't summarize what you have just read, it probably means you did not get it very well; so, read it a second time, and accept the puzzle of each sentence. Bounce about in the maze of the idea. Then say in your own words what that concept means to you, either in your mind or voice it quietly, if it helps you to concentrate. Summarizing and rewording ideas forces you to react and challenge the topic.
  • Have a cool shower before studying because it makes you relaxed and fresh.
  • Try making memory maps. You can also use paper marks and colourful highlighters to make your studies more interesting.
  • If you can not concentrate at home, go to a library.
  • If you cannot concentrate on your studies at home, the best place is the library. People always go there to study, so it will obviously be quiet!
  • Make a timetable for each subject. Often, some subjects are larger than others, so give more time for those. Easy subjects should have less time.


  • Don't study for too long, at one time, because your brain cannot concentrate for long periods of time. Eventually you will start to think about other things and won't be able to think about the material you are studying.
  • Don't remain seated for long hours. Move. Don't be sedentary. It can hamper your health.
  • If you start feeling a headache take a break. Usually "study headaches" are indicators that your eyes have been straining themselves for an extended period.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle of water
  • Mini-snack bits (light, low calories)
  • Your notes and books
  • Paper, pens and pencils
  • A quiet place (a suitable environment)
  • Calculator
  • Dictionary online or on paper
  • Watch/clock

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