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Concentration

Most students report dissatisfaction with their ability to concentrate: they may have trouble getting down to work in the first place or feel that they never work as efficiently as they would like. While it is impossible to concentrate 100% of the time, it is possible to minimize external distractions and to begin to work on internal ones.

TRY
Seriously examine your place of study. (Make what changes you can, or consider the cafeteria, library, or an empty classroom.)
HOW
Does it have adequate lighting? (A light bulb in your face can cause eye strain.) Does it have adequate ventilation? (Lack of circulating air can make you sleepy.) Does it offer space and comfort? (You need a clear desk for writing and a comfortable chair for reading.) Is it too warm or too cold? (Both extremes of temperature can make you sleepy.) Are there too many line-of-sight distractions? (Some students cannot work with a bed of pictures from home in view.) On the other hand, does it feel like a sterile prison? (Some students work more efficiently with their doors open.) Are there too many audio distractions? (Some music may be fine, but loud rock music with lyrics is “stupefying”.) Do friends find and distract you easily? (Hide, or learn to say “No, I’m studying,” either by pre-established signals or by sheer force of will.) This is all very personal and individual. Find out what works for you.

TRY
Establish a regular routine for eating, sleeping and exercise.
WHY
The ability to concentrate depends on adequate sleep, decent nutrition and the increase in well-being that comes with exercise. Students who have all three, generally show higher marks.

TRY
Show an interest in the material and a sense of purpose to the task.
WHY
People are bored by what is not relevant to them. Therefore, you may need to create relevance by talking to others or by relating the material to what interests you. In addition, it helps to always sit down to work with a clearly defined purpose and task.

TRY
Establish rewards for accomplishments.
WHY
People work best with positive reinforcement.

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