How can I improve my concentration?

Establish a study routine

  • Establish a weekly routine of study times. Print out a weekly planner [see link, at right].

  • Prioritise your tasks and allocate a time using a daily planner. Print out a daily planner [see link at right].

  • Focus on a single task at a time.

  • Determine your most active and alert times of day (are you a morning person or a night owl?). Do difficult tasks when you’re most alert (e.g. writing drafts, reading texts). Do less demanding tasks in your low concentration periods (e.g. proofreading, filing).

Get organised

  • File reading notes and lecture notes separately.

  • Use different folders for each unit of study.

  • Start work with a clear desk. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do a speed-clean before studying.

  • Make sure you have all the study aids you need close by: dictionary, text books, calculator, etc.

  • Make summaries of your notes for quick revision.

Create a suitable study environment

  • Most people prefer quiet study environments, either at home or in a library. Some people need background music. Other people need background noise and work best at a cafe or in the busier areas of the library.

  • Make sure your chair is comfortable.

  • Your study area should be well lit to avoid straining your eyes.

  • Check the temperature in your study environment – if it’s too warm, you may get sleepy. Fresh air will keep you alert.

Change your habits

  • While studying, turn off Facebook and Twitter. Also, turn your mobile to silent and move it away from your desk.

  • Tell friends and family you’re studying and can’t be disturbed for a while.

  • Establish a routine by studying at the same times every day.

  • Exercise before and between study sessions.

  • Study for 50 minutes and have a 10 minute break.

For more help on this topic see the links on the right...