Creating an Effective Study Environment
These study environment tips should give you some actionable ideas to try the next time you’ve got some serious studying to do. Your ideal study setting is unique to you, so experiment with these ideas until you discover what works best!
Distractions can sabotage your best efforts at studying. Social networking sites, family obligations and other projects around the house can take your attention away from studying. Any environment, even a library, can cause you to lose focus. It all depends on your personal study preferences. Some students find their living spaces too distracting because of chores and other people in the household. Others can’t concentrate if it’s too quiet. They need a little hustle and bustle to focus! Figure out what your biggest triggers are and try to eliminate them from your study area. The key is that everyone has different preferences. Identifying your distractors and minimizing them will help you focus on your work. Experiment with background sounds and locations until you find the golden combination that works for you.
Organize your study space:
Clear out a corner of your home and designate it as your study zone. Clean up the clutter and organize your things to create a space that is specifically designed for your studies. Make it comfortable and engaging. Get filing folders to organize paperwork to make it easier to locate course work and assignments.
Choose somewhere purely for study
At home, and at school. This is super important because your brain quickly learns that when you’re in that location it is time to focus. If you try and study in bed or in the lunch hall you will quickly get distracted, or even fall asleep! Environmental factors play a huge part in your ability to concentrate. In one experiment testing this, researchers gave students a ‘study lamp’. Whenever they studied they simply had to switch on the lamp. This created an environment that was associated with remembering content. Study lamp students showed a notable boost in the GPAs. You can use the same effect to boost your grades!
Allow yourself a few breaks during a heavy study session. Scheduled breaks can help you recharge and re-energize during a marathon study session. Your days and weeks might vary, but having a set study time can help you dedicate yourself to what you need to get done each week. If your weekdays are busy, schedule a homework session every Saturday morning before you get out and enjoy the day. Then you have the rest of the day to relax or explore!
Snacking on healthy food during study sessions will not only improve your concentration, but it will also make studying more enjoyable. Keep a supply of protein diet in your desk drawer or fix a plate of fresh veggies and fruit before you sit down to study. Staying hydrated will also help improve your concentration levels. Keep a glass of water at your desk during every study session and use a desk cup clamp to avoid spills.
Find an Effective Location and Posture for Studying
Modern technology is so flexible that it does not place many constraints on where or how children study. It is common to see a child writing briefly at a desk, then working from a laptop computer on the floor, and then lying down on the couch to read a book.
It is hard to maintain the same level of concentration when lying on the floor or propped up in bed as when sitting at a desk. The body’s habit when lying down is to relax and sleep. It is not helpful for a child to have to fight that tendency when studying. In addition, lying down promotes passive reading. It is hard to take notes or type while lying down. So students who are lying down are playing a less active role in their learning than those who are sitting up.
The advantage of promoting these behaviors is that after a while the habit system kicks in. Eventually, sitting in a consistently structured environment free of distracting technology is simply how studying gets done — now and for life.
Switch off your phone. It’s super easy nowadays to get distracted by smart phones. One of the biggest causes of academic failure has to be WhatsApp. But we enjoy using social networks like Instagram that we can’t stand switching off our phones. Unfortunately your smart phone is killing your grades, so it’s time to power down.
Get a little help from your friends (and family)
“Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family for some of their time to help with your test prep”, invite them to help by quizzing you before a test or discussing points from your latest lecture. “Other people around you can provide valuable feedback, questioning and ideas to help stimulate discussion”.
You can even pretend to be the teacher and give your friends or family a crash course on the lesson you’re focusing on. “If you can explain a concept to another person, you understand the subject matter quite strongly”.
Use technology to your advantage
There’s no denying that technology can be a huge help in completing your coursework. Nearly any environment can become a makeshift study room when you have free Wi-Fi hotspots, tablets and smart watches at hand. Make the most of the technology you already use by downloading relevant e-books and audio books, planning your study sessions and tracking assignments with a digital calendar and using study apps to help you prepare for a big test.
But technology is only helpful if you use it the right way. If you find yourself becoming distracted by texts or social media, it’s time to put your phone away, turn off the TV and get down to business. Sometimes going unplugged is the best way to bring focus to your work!