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Tips for Improving Concentration for High School Students

October 4, 2013

How to improve concentration – study skills tips for high school students

Improving concentration is an important part of a high school student’s study skills especially in the classroom and at home. Concentration can be improved with practice, much like improving a sport or music through practice.

Strategies for improving concentration

(a) Study time

  • Set a time block for studying.
  • Organize work into small and achievable goals.
  • Take breaks every 30-45 minutes.
  • Change topics or break up topics – many students find it easier to switch topics every time they take a break.
  • Write notes instead of just reading. When your activity level increases, your concentration will also increase.
  • Set aside a place for studying in the home or at school away from distractions. Make it a habit of only studying at the place, not for surfing the internet, or making phone calls.
  • The study area should have good ventilation, good lighting, a comfortable chair, and a desk that is big enough for books and study materials.
  • In the home, try to have the TV, telephone, and other distractions out of sight from the study area.
  • Background music should be allowed only if it does not distract you. Non-distracting background music is known as “white noise”.

(b) Mental strategies

  • Be conscious of your thoughts. If you find your thoughts wandering, bring yourself back to focus by using any techniques that work for you e.g. saying to yourself “Stop, Be Here Now” or “Focus!” or “Snap” and let go of the distracting thoughts. It is normal to find yourself needing to refocus tens and hundreds of times during the week for the first week. The more you practice, the period of time between wandering thoughts will get longer each week.
  • Be conscious of not becoming distracted. Practice ignoring activities and events that happen around you. For example, someone walking into the room or a classmate throwing a piece of paper across the classroom, someone coughing or a door slamming. Do not take part in the distractions but continue focusing on work. Use the first technique to refocus on your work if necessary. A good way to keep your focus is to form an imaginary tunnel between you and the teacher – everything else outside of the tunnel does not exist for the time that your teacher is talking.
  • Have some time to think. Set aside a special time or “worry time” to think of all thoughts interfering with your concentration. Studies have shown that those who set aside such time will worry 35% less of the time within four weeks.
  • Reward yourself but don’t overdo it! Treat yourself to a reward when you achieve your set goals.

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