Be it your workplace, playing a game, or studying, concentration is indispensable. Some students have razor-sharp attention, but others need to make an effort to increase it and stay focused. Often, we sit down to read something but tend to lose interest within a few minutes because the mind wanders off. We move from one thought to another and forget what we plan to learn. Determination and regular practice can help go a long way in improving concentration skills.
When we’re entirely focused, we can study, learn and understand faster without committing any errors. Whether you’re preparing for your IGCSE or other important exams, here are some tips to increase concentration and improve memory to ace them.
Why is it so difficult to concentrate?
Numerous things can distract one from studying. There is so much happening around you: Message notifications, wanting to know what your friends are up to, Instagram stories, Tiktok videos, shows or series you are watching, politics, what to wear on your next outing, etc.
The list is endless. Something distraction as simple as the doorbell ringing or a dog barking can make you stray away. Especially when the material you are studying is intense or not to your liking, it becomes all the easier to get distracted.
Concentration is necessary; there are no two ways about it!
- It improves memory
- It increases efficiency (not just while studying)
- Ensures peace of mind by freeing it from undesirable thoughts
- Reduces the chances of error
- It gives you control over your mind allowing better decisionmaking
Tips to increase concentration while studying
Studying requires you to sit for long hours and that can be challenging. However, with increased concentration, you may not have to sit for so long:
• Study with a friend
You can lose focus when you study alone. A friend or study partner will help you stay on track and remain motivated to learn. It will be quicker to finish complex topics as you can time and break them together. That gives you the energy to power through during the time you have set.
• Create the right atmosphere to study
Don’t sit in a messy room, don’t sit in a crowded room, and don’t sit in dim lighting. Create an atmosphere where you don’t feel sleepy or get distracted by things. You can also curate a study playlist.
• Have a healthy and balanced diet
Fatty foods and junk food will make you feel lethargic. Try not to have heavy meals if you have to study right after. That will make you want to take a nap. Eat a balanced and nutritious meal rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other healthy foods.
• Don’t snack while studying
Take a break to eat. If you sit down to study with a pack of popcorn or chips, the focus will shift to eating. Don’t surround yourself with chocolate, sodas, and other unhealthy nibbles.
• Meditate and exercise
Try to get some exercise, do yoga and try to meditate. All these are great concentration boosters and keep the mind fresh and agile.
• Choose a suitable time to study
Don’t go by what everyone is doing. Some people study better at night, and some wake up in the wee hours and finish their work. Only you know when your concentration is at its peak. Recognise that and leverage on it. You’ll realise how much more productive you can end up being.
• Don’t study for long hours on end – take a break
Take a short break now and then to recuperate. Step out, get some fresh air, walk around the house, or even take a power nap. If you sit for too long at one place, you’ll get fatigued; your effectiveness will be reduced the longer you stay – break for a few minutes every couple of hours.
• Keep essential things handy
Many of us are in the bad habit of looking for things right when we sit to study. Whether it’s a pen, textbook, notes, or water bottle, make sure everything is accessible. Keep all the essential things on your study table, and don’t keep getting up for these things. It doesn’t mean you clutter your desk; only keep what’s essential. Remove books and papers that are of no use.
• Get a good night’s sleep
If you’re sleepy, you can say goodbye to your focus. Sleep is essential and one of the main attributes that can improve concentration and memory power. Try to get between seven to eight hours of sleep to remain fresh and energetic. Without sleep, dullness and lethargy set in, making studying impossible.
• Set targets and reward yourself
A little motivation will only push you to do better, and it’s essential to reward yourself. When you know you have a prize waiting at the end of the study schedule, you’ll concentrate better and stick to the plan.
Bribe yourself for 30 minutes with friends, or get out to grab a coffee or order your favourite food. You’ll see how productive and focused you remain, knowing what awaits you on the other side.
• Use pictographic representations
Use diagrams and visual images for effective learning. Some concepts like Mitochondria or Big Bang theory are tough topics, but a mental story or chart can help easily recollect.
• Make a realistic plan
Making a schedule is very important. Make sure it’s realistic but not too easy. It makes you stay concentrated so try to stick to schedules when you have one.
• Generic tips
Don’t study on your bed, stay away from social media, and don’t procrastinate. Stay positive, concentrate on one thing at a time and practice deep breathing when you feel overwhelmed.
You should know what distracts you, and when you want to study, you need to make an effort to avoid those distractions. With patience and practice, you’ll see how well you can concentrate on your studies.