Study Skills – Concentration

The following tips and information can help improve your concentration. Here are some of the topics:

What is concentration?

When concentrating fully you are so absorbed in what you are doing you are unaware of time passing or of what is going on around you.…The length of time for which you can concentrate fully depends on factors such as your enthusiasm for what you are doing, your skill at a particular task, your emotional and physical state, and your surroundings at the time.

Source: Marshall, L. and Rowland, F. (1998) A Guide to Learning Independently. p. 23

What are the different kinds?

There are two types of concentration:

  • Immediate concentration that allows you to observe the world around you at every moment.
  • Prolongedconcentration that allows you to read, learn and think.

Studying requires you to work with your prolonged or long-term concentration. In other words, you have to minimize the attention you pay to what’s going on around you and instead focus on the task at hand.

By improving your concentration, you can:

  • Maintain a higher level of attention.
  • Be more efficient when studying.
  • Remember what you have learned.

How to improve your concentration?

  • In class:
    • Pay close attention to your professor.
    • Take good notes.
    • Ask questions and actively participate in discussions.
  • At home:
    • Create a working environment that is comfortable and adapted to your needs.
    • Organize your time. Set aside regular study times (with breaks and rewards).
    • Establish a routine: Create for yourself a convenient ritual before getting to work (for example, put some comfortable clothes on and make yourself a snack). This routine will become a conditioned reflex that tells your brain to prepare for work.
  • During exams:
    • Reduce your stress by establishing better working conditions.
    • Avoid sitting near windows and limit outside distractions.
    • Avoid sitting beside people who work much faster than you—their pace may discourage you.
    • Bring all the materials you need (pens, books, calculators—if authorized—and a snack if you need it).

Back to Study Skills to find other helpful guides.

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