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The ability to stay focused on a single task for a substantial length of time requires understanding the techniques of concentration.

Most college students experience periods of low concentration. Many distractions can interrupt a student's focus while in class or studying. Traditional students living in a residence hall can be easily distracted by noise, talk from roommates or suite mates, phones, music, and general residence hall noise. Non-traditional students experience distraction in their home atmosphere. If you have a family, their needs and concerns will be a part of your study routine. Both types of students will benefit from the following strategies:

Find a quiet place to study

Isolate yourself from distractions to maintain commitment to the task at hand. Find a quiet, solitary study corner in which to stay focused and concentrate. Make sure you are comfortable but alert. If you study in your room put a"Do Not Disturb" sign on your door.

Do the most difficult task first

Optimum concentration occurs when you are fresh and relaxed. Assignments such as complex, lengthy readings or difficult math problems should be tackled early in your study time. Save easier, more enjoyable tasks for whenyou are growing tired and less concentration is required.

Understand what distractions to avoid

If you know that concentration can be a problem, the following suggestions will help you stay focused:

  • Sit at the front of class.
  • Sit with students who are focused on the professor and class material.
  • Get enough rest and nutrition to stay alert during lecture and while studying.
  • Relate uninteresting subject matter to something that has an impact on your life. This connection will help you stay focused. When reading a textbook, make a check in the margin every time your concentration wanders.
  • When done, count the number of times you have made a mark. Set a goal to have a lower number of marks during your next reading assignment.

Develop active study techniques:

  • Use a highlighter when reading textbooks and notes.
  • Take notes from your textbook while reading assignments and use the SQ3R reading method.
  • Make flashcards, diagrams, study matrixes, charts and drawings. Tape-record your notes or textbook and listen to the tape while exercising, driving or just taking a walk.
  • Never study in bed.


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