Everyone is different. Some people can focus on the task at hand while they are surrounded by noise and movement and other distractions. Others need to be alone in complete silence to hold their attention. Studying in groups or with a partner can be really helpful to some students. While some prefer the library, others like to be in their dorm room, or even outside in nature. Finding out what works best for you is important and can help improve how you learn.
If you retain information best at a library cube, stick with it. If you work better bundled up on your couch, that’s okay. Find a comfortable setting that best helps you get into your study groove. Comfort is key. You want a chair that is cozy but not going to put you to sleep. If you have the opportunity to set up a desk or office in your house/apartment, take advantage of it.
It is important to eliminate all distractions- so put your phone in a drawer and on silent. If you are studying in a room at the library, or even at home, you should keep the door closed. Make sure your area is organized. Whether you use folders or shelves, avoid having loose paper all over the place. Desk clutter is a distraction. Organize your computer files too. It will save you time trying to find what you need.
While you don’t want too much going on around you, you do want some motivation. Decorate the area around your desk, or your computer desktop, with inspiration. Hang up pictures of family, or of something you’ve accomplished, or even just a quote that makes you happy. You can also consider having plants around you. They help improve air quality and they are nice to look at.
Find a scent that is both relaxing and awakening. Citrus or eucalyptus are usually good choices. Burning candles while you read or study may not make an actual difference on your test scores, but it will help create a place where you feel at home.
Eating and drinking while you study will keep you focused, give you energy, and keep you hydrated- all of which are important. Find a drink like coffee, water, tea, or an energy drink. Something will keep you alert and something that you enjoy sipping on. Pick a healthy snack to keep close by that’s easy to munch on like trail mix. Try not to over eat or fill up on something that isn’t exactly good for you, like chips or candy, that will make you tired and groggy.
Put together a playlist that will keep you in the perfect mood to gain some knowledge. Listening to music while you study is proven to improve memory and increase efficiency – find out more about the Mozart Effect here.
Keep colors nearby. Color coordinating your notes with different color pens can help keep you creative and help keep you organized. It will also be a welcome sight for your eyes after staring at either a computer screen or monotonous black and white notes. Even if it’s something as simple as taking bio notes in red and calculus notes in blue, it can make a difference.
If you can find a place that has natural lighting, that’s great. If not, make sure you have plenty of light around you. This will keep you from having to strain your eyes and it will keep you for getting tired. But remember, don’t ever look directly into the light.
Your personal, comfortable, perfect, study space should be relaxing and inspiring. You shouldn’t have to think twice about being able to focus. Find one space that works for you and claim it!