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Study Tips For How to Stay Focused

Studying can be something many of us dread. Everyone has their own style of studying that works best for them personally. With midterms in progress and finals coming up sooner than we think, here are some techniques to keep in mind as you are studying – some of them might help you!

1. Find a place where you are not distracted by what’s going on around you – This is not to say you shouldn’t study with friends! If you are someone who simply can’t focus in dead silence, this might mean finding a place where there is some background noise. In this case, several options include the Student Center, Newell Field House, a common room in your dorm building, or the even the quad (while the weather’s still nice). On the other hand, if you need somewhere that is completely silent there are places for you, too. If this is more your style, find a quiet study room in ODY, or try out the “yellow pipe” room, also in ODY. Herring Cole is also another great option- my personal favorite.

2. “Unplug” – If it means turning your phone all the way off, then do it. Yes, these days a significant amount of homework is either online or requires a laptop, but challenge yourself to take a break from social media, texting, etc. It’s only going to distract you from your work, and if you are constantly checking it, you won’t retain as much information.

3. Find good study music – Listening to music while studying can definitely help you, however, it’s important to make sure that you find the right music for you. Listening to your favorite song and singing every word while you study for a midterm probably isn’t the best bet. Instead, try to find something a little bit softer, or perhaps something classical – that way you have some background noise, but you aren’t distracted by the words. Check out our article “5 Spotify Playlists Every College Girl Should Have” for some suggestions!

4. Write, don’t type – This is scientifically proven: you will remember something much more if you handwrite it, rather than type it. This begins with note-taking during class. There are some professors who go through the information so quickly it is impossible to write everything in the amount of time you are given, if this is the case, type it! However, most professors go through the slides and information at a reasonable pace, and if this is the case, you’re only doing yourself a favor if you write out your notes. When it comes to actually studying the material, certainly type out your study guide to save time, but when you actually go back to study it, considering handwriting as opposed to typing.

5. Give yourself breaks – Taking breaks is essential. Study for an hour, then take a 10 minute break for a snack or drink of water, coffee or tea. The last thing you want to do is work yourself so hard that you are completely worn out come exam time. Studying is very important and making sure you study enough is crucial, but taking those well-needed breaks will help you be able to power through the long study sessions!

And finally,

6. Get some sleep – Pulling an all-nighter to cram in the information you should have been studying days ago might sound like a good idea, however sleep deprivation is a real thing, and it is very possible that it can have a huge affect on how you perform on the exam. If you stop and think about it, come time for the exam, are you really going to remember everything you studied at 3 or 4 AM, or are you going to be thinking about how tired you were while studying it? Probably the latter of the two. Do yourself a favor and start studying the information in little bits for several days leading up to the exam, that way before the exam you can get a good night’s sleep and hopefully avoid making silly mistakes.

(Photo: Emily Johnson)

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