Study Tips: How To Stay Focused

Use this helpful toolkit lớn finally focus better when studying. You'll learn how to lớn plan effective study sessions and improve concentration.

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You’ve amassed your books, notes, & stationery, sat down at your desk. It’s time to focus on your studies and …

“Ugh, I can’t concentrate!”

You may enjoy being a student of your chosen field, but memorizing a stack of lecture notes so that you can pass your exams and receive your qualification is another story entirely. Especially since there are so many distracting, exciting, và colorful things in the … oh look, a butterfly!

Even top-performing students with ninja-level self-discipline experience a mild reluctance to dive in. The difference, however, is that they have developed the right study habits that not only get them in their chairs khổng lồ study but keep them there too.

What’s their secret? và how can you focus better và improve your concentration and memory when studying?

You, my friend, are holding the (virtual) answer in your hands. In this article, we"re going to show you:

1. How to lớn focus from the start


Almost all of the problems associated with an inability to lớn focus on your studies fall into one of two broad categories:

Difficulty starting to lớn focus on your studies (issues of inertia), orDifficulty maintaining concentration when studying (daydreaming).

Both have the same frustrating results but can require slightly different approaches khổng lồ overcome. What you need to vì chưng is still your thoughts and minimize distractions just lượt thích you vày when falling asleep, only now you"re going to lớn unleash 100% of your cognitive powers on learning and remembering.

Here’s how to vị that ...

1.1. Mix up a peaceful, distraction-free "study bubble"

Set out all your materials, stationery, Diet Cokes … whatever you need khổng lồ learn. You shouldn’t have to lớn get up for anything once you’ve started.Have a word with your family, housemates, cat, parrot, needy indoor plants … whoever you think might be a source of distraction. Explain politely that it’s study time và that you’d appreciate some quiet with minimal interruptions.Clear your phone of notifications và then turn it on silent so that it can’t ping & distract you. Better yet, leave it in another room. You won’t hurt Siri"s feelings, we promise.If you’re working off a device, log out of any apps và social media that might send you distracting notifications.Knock out any important tasks before your allotted study time—like pay a bill, feed the cat, or break up with your boyfriend—so that they won’t eat away at your valuable mental bandwidth.

Now, you don’t have to do all of the above in order khổng lồ prepare your study bubble, but if you’re easily distracted and have a tendency to lớn procrastinate when studying, clearing your proverbial plate can go a long way in helping you focus better.

Side Note: Can music help you concentrate?


Yes and no. Music may help improve concentration và focus, but music may also be preventing you from effectively memorizing what you’re studying.

A general finding is that if you are working on memorization & knowledge-based studying, the louder & more complicated a piece of music is, the more of your brainpower it’s going lớn siphon away from the important stuff. So, if you’re someone who needs background sound to lớn study, stick with quiet, repetitive music or sounds, lượt thích white noise, Lo-Fi, or binaural beats.

Just remember that everyone is different. Your challenge is khổng lồ figure out how to lớn improve focus and memory in a way that works best for you. Whether you vày that with whale songs, utter silence, or the hubbub at the local coffee cửa hàng doesn’t really matter. As long as the effect the noise or music has on your brain helps you focus better when studying.

Now that you have adequately prepared your environment–your study bubble–it’s time to lớn get yourself prepared for focusing, concentrating, và memorizing.

1.2. Prepare your study material


Even the most skilled musicians once sucked at playing their instruments. They didn’t wake up with the innate ability khổng lồ shred a guitar lượt thích Slash or use their sweet, prepubescent voices to lớn amass a mindless following of zombie “Beliebers”.

Mastery of any skill or subject requires steady learning and daily practice. The same way Slash didn’t pull his first guitar out of the case và say, “Well, time to lớn write November Rain,” you shouldn’t crack open your first anatomy book và say, “Time lớn learn how to vì open-heart surgery.”

If, however, you break the material down into manageable, bite-sized study sessions, you’re well on your way khổng lồ fluency. The key lớn mastery is consistently devoting time to learning, whether it’s ten minutes or two hours a day. Therefore, your next step towards honing razor-sharp skills of focus is to mix study goals or milestones.

Here are three tips to do that:

Tip 1: Skim the material before diving inTake a wonderful trip down memory lane, starting at the very beginning of the coursework you need khổng lồ learn. Lightly scan through your lecture notes / textbook / study modules & remind yourself just how much ground you’ve covered.

If you don’t have a course outline handy, create one yourself. This will help you khổng lồ establish the full scope of the knowledge you need khổng lồ absorb before braving the soupy, fear-sweat-permeated air of the exam hall.

Now, skim reading is the easy part since it doesn’t require you to “memorize” the information. Rather, the goal is to lớn scan over everything và reacquaint yourself with what you’ve learned, which will prime your brain for the harder learning!

Tip 2: Identify your strengths & weaknessesMaybe, when you scan over the year’s biology notes, for example, you find the chapter on ecology khổng lồ be fairly easy but boy is the chapter on evolution giving you a hard time!

In your review, identifying your strengths & weaknesses is an important step because it alerts you lớn the sections and chapters you need to lớn allocate more time to. The aim is to lớn be prepared, not surprised, when your least favorite subject shows up on your next exam.

Tip 3: Break it down into bite-sized sessionsOnce you have established a coursework outline và identified your weaknesses, start dividing it into bite-sized study sessions. This isn’t an exact science so don’t be too rigid. The goal is lớn create study sessions that are comfortably manageable in “a day in the life of you”, whether that’s an hour in the library or 10 minutes in the bath before bedtime.

Remember to devote more study time to your weaknesses! On this subject,’s adaptive digital flashcards are the perfect tool for zoning in on your knowledge gaps, helping you to address the concepts in which you don’t yet feel confident.

1.3 A good start is half the battle won


Okay, so this all sounds lượt thích a lot of effort just to get started. And it doesn’t even address the fact that you struggle enormously to concentrate. How does all of this preparation help you to focus better when studying? Well, without even realizing it, here’s what you’ve achieved with these first few steps:

A healthy perspective: By establishing that 30,000-foot view of what needs to be done, as well as a plan khổng lồ get it done, you’ll probably feel a lot less intimidated by the task at hand. All you need to bởi is follow your study plan and, come D-Day, you’ll be totally prepared.Motivation: With the study material broken down into smaller, more achievable milestones, you get that delicious “reward-like” sensation far more frequently. Mmm … dopamine. Additionally, getting started is far less scary and overwhelming when the end is in sight.Momentum: Because this exercise isn’t memory–or even focus-intensive–it makes it easier khổng lồ start, even if you have the attention span of a goldfish. Và once you’ve overcome that study inertia, the momentum can kick in.

Essentially, you have just succeeded in establishing a powerful & convenient framework for learning. Good job!

Now it’s time to begin studying và actually maintain concentration.

2. How khổng lồ maintain focus và overcome daydreaming


“Hey, what are you doing?” says the voice.“I’m trying to study.”“Cool. Did you reply khổng lồ Steve’s text? He’s been super needy lately.”“Please leave me alone, I’ve just gotten into my rhythm.”“But it’s almost two o’clock.”“I’ve got a massive biology exam coming up.”“Judge Judy’s about to lớn come on. Why don’t we watch one episode & then you can study?”“It’s never just one episode.”“Fine … hey, your phone just plinked. Vì chưng you think it’s Steve again?”“Argh!”

There is likely not a single student on planet Earth who doesn’t relate khổng lồ this inner dialogue. The voice of procrastination always thinks of every possible thing to vị other than what you need to do right now, which is study.

If it’s not external distractions (the cat, a noisy housemate, or emails plucking at your concentration), it’s internal distractions and the little siren’s tuy nhiên of the voice seducing you away from your books. Either way, maintaining concentration on your studies is hard.

So, how can you overcome that nagging inner voice that would rather chase squirrels than study, or entertain that particularly saucy daydream about Adriana Lima or Ryan Gosling (or both)?


2.1. Phối study goals appropriate lớn your mental gear

Just lượt thích a car, our brains operate in different mental gears. On some days we pop easily into gear 4 or 5, are capable of focusing on our studies for hours at a time, happily cruising through the material lượt thích a Mercedes SLR McLaren 722 on an eight-lane autobahn.

On other days, it feels like we’re rattling down a potholed country road in an ancient pick-up that screams in protest every time you try to lớn shift up. Try as you might, you get inadvertently sidelined every 5 to lớn 10 minutes by life’s greatest mysteries—like where does dust come from and if humans had tails, would kích thước matter?

It is what it is, và you’re going to lớn have lớn roll with whatever gear your brain is in. The trick is to lớn recognize which gear that is và instead, shift your study approach lớn suit it.

Ask yourself: Am I in a high mental gear today? vì chưng I have good energy? Am I capable of getting in ... The Study Zone? If so, plan a long study session and perhaps confront the areas you’ve been having difficulty on.

However, if you’re feeling flakey and easily distracted, shift down your gears & instead, plan a series of short 5 lớn 10-minute flashcard sessions with frequent study breaks in between và some kind of reward at the end. You"ll probably over up studying longer than that if you"re on a roll.

Done this way, you can capitalize on the energy you do have và still manage to lớn study productively on the days you find your energy waning. Remember, the most productive and successful people are skilled at managing their energy và attention, và not just their time.

2.2. Vary your study methods lớn improve concentration


Everyone burns out after a period of time. There’s only so much reading & text highlighting you can bởi before your mind wanders. What can help enormously to lớn re-engage your concentration is a bit of variety, both in your study environment & method.

Here are 4 tips for changing things up:

Tip 1: Change of sceneryTry going for a walk or exercising where you engage in không tính tiền recall, i.e. Quietly recite everything you know about a specific topic, even with no material in front of you. You could even sing it lớn the tune of your favorite song. The point is khổng lồ actively recall what you"ve been learning, which is powerful reviews practice.

Read: "Use the Feynman Technique lớn make knowledge STICK"

Tip 2: A round of flashcardsIf you’re bored of reading through your lecture notes, pop onto’s adaptive learning platform & test your mettle with an appropriate flashcard deck. See how confidently you are able lớn answer the questions & improve your active recall while having a bit of a break from the books.

Tip 3: Study-on, study-offSome students follow the Pomodoro Technique, where they study for 25 minutes and then take 5 minutes off, rinse and repeat. Others may prefer hour-long sessions followed by 30-minute breaks or 15-minute sessions followed by 10-minute breaks. For everyone, however, it"s probably better khổng lồ just set more frequent natural milestones, where you pause between chapters or sections, rather than blindly setting a timer that could interrupt you when you"re on a roll.

Everyone is different so don’t lock yourself in too strictly. Find your sweet spot of time-on versus time-off. The added benefit khổng lồ this technique is that it squeezes study time in even when you aren’t feeling particularly focused or mentally energized.

Tip 4: Get a study buddyArrange a study session with a group of peers or a friend or colleague. This shouldn’t be your primary approach lớn learning, but it functions as a nice adjunctive method because (1) it commits you khổng lồ study, (2) your peers can help you address your weaknesses, and (3) in helping them attack their weaknesses, you"re able to đánh giá your knowledge.

Just leave the beer at home. You’re not learning anything if your study sessions keep turning into games of flip-cup.

2.3. Set automated study reminders

Take the guesswork và decision-making out of studying by programming study notifications into your device. These will rap you on the knuckles when it’s time to lớn sit down & resume your studies. It may also be helpful khổng lồ specify information such as where you left off in the material, the topics you feel you should review before continuing, và how long you wish to lớn study.

2.4. Gamify your productivity

Train your brain khổng lồ focus better when studying in exchange for treat rewards.

Embrace your dopamine addiction by giving yourself more frequent, smaller rewards whenever you complete a study task.

If you’re the pony, what’s your carrot? Is it chocolate? A 15-minute walk? A 20-minute episode of Modern Family? Or even an actual carrot? Find what you can dangle in front of your nose as an incentive khổng lồ complete a study session and then phối yourself moving-target goals lượt thích “Once I finish making flashcards for this section on criminal law, I’m going khổng lồ murder that Snickers bar,” or “Once I answer 10 flashcards in a row with perfect confidence, I’m going khổng lồ go for a 15-minute walk."

Gamifying your productivity essentially requires that you design a reward system that makes studying feel gratifying for your brain. In other words: train your brain like you would a dog. With treats!

2.5. Give yourself a chance lớn reflect


Learning to improve your focus doesn’t require you khổng lồ push yourself further than is mentally comfortable. You shouldn’t feel lượt thích you have to crack the whip every time your mind wanders to what you’re having for dinner and–ew, what did your cát just barf up?

Sometimes you genuinely need to take a break to lớn reflect on your studies, as well as on the things that are distracting you. In fact, if you’re struggling to concentrate, maybe it’s because you haven"t given yourself enough "reflective downtime" to lớn process the things that are on your mind.

Think of it as mental admin. Each time something happens to you that elicits an emotional response–an upsetting email, a pressing assignment, a happy social development–it generates a ticket in your brain. Each ticket demands a little mental time for processing. Once it’s processed, it can be filed away. If you don’t take the time lớn process those tickets, they pile up & eventually those piles become unavoidably high.

Then, it’s when you sit down lớn concentrate on your studies that those teetering towers of unresolved và unprocessed mental tickets begin lớn crowd in on you, plucking at your focus and distracting you. Opportunities for introspection include long walks, meditation, jogging, swimming, yoga, commuting, peeling potatoes, watching paint dry … any low-intensity activity that allows your brain lớn wander, daydream, and process all those tickets.

Taking a little study break to lớn reflect, both on what you are learning & on what’s going on in your life, is essential khổng lồ your wellbeing. It’ll help improve your attention span & you’ll probably sleep better too.

2.6. Use to improve concentration và focus


We’ve presented you with a cornucopia of study hacks, from silencing your housemates to gamifying your productivity. A really cool resource that rolls all of these hacks into one ridiculously good-looking, flashcard-based learning platform is is entirely online, & accessible by any device, from anywhere in the world with internet access or điện thoại coverage (and you can even use it offline if you already downloaded the content you want lớn study while you were "online"). This reduces the logistical barriers to lớn studying. You can literally work towards that ‘A’ whether it’s from a bus seat or, well, the porcelain throne. also breaks down content-heavy subjects into collections of bite-sized flashcards, which are neatly organized into themed decks; and leverages the hyper-efficient learning nguồn of spaced repetition, metacognition, & active recall to help students learn twice as fast as any other study technique. You can learn all about the nerdy science behind these terms in the following guides:

(Don’t argue with science. They have lasers.)

Additionally,"s smart platform delivers study sessions that are as short as 5 to 10 flashcards, so you can squeeze in a short 5- to lớn 10-minutes anytime, anywhere. Or, you can keep studying until you feel the need to take a break.

It’s almost lượt thích all the decades of cognitive science research we’ve read lớn write articles lượt thích these are also naturally integrated into the platform we built. Crazy, right?

3. Becoming a more focused person


Studying is a taxing và demanding mental activity so it’s no wonder that it tends to lớn inspire inertia. Maintaining focus during studying can feel like a constant battle for anyone. Living in this digital world with its constant distractions and slavish devotion to instant gratification just compounds the problem.

But after reading all this, (good job by the way!) you should have a comprehensively stocked mental toolkit at your disposal. Now you know how to lớn improve concentration, how to focus, và how to actually remember what you learn.

Use these study hacks because they work. You just need lớn figure out which ones work best for you.

One final thing. You can actually build your attention span lượt thích a muscle. With the right training and regular exercise, you can over up with Bruce Lee-level focus and concentration long beyond your current study goals.

Xem thêm: Cách Làm Mồi Câu Cá Mè Trắng /Đầu Bò, Mồi Thuốc Câu Cá Mè Hoa/Mè Trắng/Đầu Bò

Remember that there is nothing inherently wrong with your attention span; it"s just a matter of the way you"ve trained yourself in the past, which is totally reversible. Keep working at it, lượt thích you would anything else.

You have everything you need khổng lồ smash that exam into the bleachers right there in your he—SQUIRREL!