In the Information Age, it seems as though studying for college exams is about three percent study time and 97 percent not getting distracted by the Internet.
Unfortunately, you don’t have time to click on every attention-grabbing link you come across. You need to focus.
Here are seven easy-to-remember study hacks to help you improve your concentration and get the most out of your study time.
Study hack 1. Catch more Zs
Studies show that sleep plays a vital role in your ability to concentrate, as well as your capacity to learn new things. It probably comes as no surprise, then, that not getting a good night’s sleep can negatively impact your mood, your motivation, and your judgment.
So, ditch the all-nighters and get about seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Your brain will thank you!
Study hack 2. Hydrate, don’t caffeinate
Sure, a triple shot of espresso can really help perk you up in the morning, but it’s a short-term gain/long-term loss for your focus.
If you’re planning on studying for a long time, switch to good ol’ H2O. Water helps deliver stimulating nutrients to your brain, which can help improve alertness and attention.
And don’t wait till you’re thirsty to take a drink! According to Harris Lieberman, a research psychologist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, “Thirst is not the best measure of hydration, so a decrease in your ability to focus is an early warning signal that it’s time to drink up.”
Study hack 3. Get physical before you get mental
The benefits of physical exercise to the brain are many and well documented, but working out about 20 to 30 minutes before you hit the books can be especially helpful to your ability to focus.
Exercise, among other things, promotes proper blood flow to your brain, which can help both your concentration and retention. So, do your mind (and your body) a favor and get the lead out of your feet.
Study hack 4. Wiggle your toes … no, seriously, wiggle your toes
Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, says, “The frenetic nature of our society—constant updates via email and Twitter, for example—provides some sort of excitement every few minutes, and we’ve become trained to expect that. If we’re not stimulated after a short period of time, we look around for something that will do the job.”
The solution? Cabane suggests focusing on your toes for a minute when you find your mind wandering. As strange as it sounds, doing so can help shake you back into the present and get you back on task.
Study hack 5. Stop and smell the rosemary
Who would have thought that an item in your spice rack could help your concentration? Research from the U.K. shows that test subjects who were exposed to the scent of rosemary while performing mental tasks performed faster and with greater accuracy.
It might help to have some rosemary potpourri in your study area to help clear the cobwebs out of your mind.
Study hack 6. Respect the classics
Many college students enjoy studying to the beat of their favorite tunes, which often include pop and rock genres.
But according to research, classical music is much better for helping you focus during study time. Putting any of Spotify’s many classical playlists on shuffle can ignite the parts of your brain that help you focus on the task at hand and make predictions.
Plus, listening to classical music helps put you in a better mood for studying and can even make you see the world in a more positive light.
Study hack 7. When all else fails, get up and move around
It may sound counterintuitive, but if you find your focus fading, stop studying, get out of the chair, and go out for a change of scenery. Taking frequent, short breaks can help relax your brain and open it up to more intensive studying when you’re ready to hit the books again.
If you want, you can even switch up the place where you study. Doing so can not only help you concentrate better, but it can also improve your retention. This is perhaps one of the most important benefits supporting the theory behind outdoor learning.
Put your study skills to use at Independence University
Ready to hit the books and start earning your degree? Independence University offers a wide variety of fully online degree programs designed for some of today’s fastest-growing career fields, such as business, healthcare, technology, and graphic design.
Call 1-800-917-6391 or visit www.independence.edu today to learn more.