This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
wikiHow’s Content Management Team
carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article meets our high standards.
wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has over 2,234,819 views, and 90% of readers who voted found it helpful. It also received 182 testimonials from readers, earning it our reader-approved status. Learn more…
In this Article:Article SummaryStudying EffectivelyAvoiding MistakesCommunity Q&AReferences
Studying for a test can be hard, especially if you’re distracted. Focusing on studying will make it easier, which means you’ll finish sooner. The key is to eliminate distractions and set yourself up in an ideal studying environment.
Part 1 Studying Effectively
- Find a suitable studying environment.
Your bedroom or classroom isn’t always the best possible place. Find a nice, quiet place with a large, comfortable chair, like your sitting room, preferably without a television, a computer or a cell phone within your reach. Don’t over think about social media and try staying away from social media.
- The library is usually a nice place to study because it’s quiet. Perhaps your parents’ office is another potential location, provided it’s quiet and offers few distractions.
Collect revision materials before you begin studying. Do not plan to look for pens, highlighters, rulers, etc, in the middle of studying. It can be really distracting at times, so prepare everything you think you need.
- Find a study partner.
Pick someone who is sensible and focused like you are on the same task. Don’t always pick your best friend, as you may ruin both your concentrations by chitchatting. Having a study partner is a great idea, as you can bounce ideas off each other, and see things form a different perspective as yourself.
- Some people find study partners distracting. Chances are if you are an extrovert, meaning you really like other people and love talking, a study partner probably won’t be the best option for you. If you are an introvert, meaning you generally keep to yourself and are a bit shier, a study partner might work great for you. However, if you are studying with a very extroverted partner, they will most likely try to talk to you while you are trying to study.
- Choose someone who is smarter than you. It sounds basic to say, but a lot of people overlook this. If you want to learn, choose a study partner who is smart, dedicated, and doesn’t mind teaching. Your study sessions will be a whole lot better.
- Collect suitable revision snacks.
No energy drinks or coffee, because sooner or later, you will crash out. Granola bars, fruit, and water are good, because they are simple and effective at releasing carbohydrates.
- Take short breaks.
After 45 minutes of studying, take a 10 minute break and do something different. Try to get back to your studying after the break; the break shouldn’t be longer than 20 minutes.
- Plan your breaks out with alarms. If your breaks are planned, you’re less likely to miss them in the first place, and more importantly, less likely to “accidentally” take more time than is needed.
- Why take breaks? Your brain needs time to recharge after it processes a bunch of information. In some studies, taking a break and walking around improved memory recall and simple test scores in subjects.
- Get Motivated.
If you do your revision well and prepare for the exam, you will do fine. Get to a point with your revision so you can enjoy the exam when it happens. Do not think that the exam is a big deal, think of it as something to challenge your learning.
- Set a goal for yourself, even if it’s a bit unrealistic. Push yourself to do better than what you think you can do, and who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself.
- Motivate yourself with a reward. This takes a bit of self-control, so ask someone in a position of authority to help you out if you need help. Give yourself a reward if you study well, feel prepared, and do well on the test.
- Tell yourself why studying is important. This is different for each person. Maybe you care about getting that perfect 4.0. Maybe you really care about the subject material. Maybe you made a bet with your dad and you can’t stand losing. Whatever it is, remind yourself of why you’re working hard and tell yourself it’s worth it.
- Sit down and study.
You have everything you need in front of you and there’s nothing left to procrastinate with. It’s just you and the material. Well? What are you waiting for?
- Use flashcards and notes to your advantage. Flash cards are helpful for some people, as they contain important information in very little space. Use them if you feel they are helpful for you. Lay them out sequentially, or order them according to a different scheme if you want to give them a little more meaning.
- Make use of mnemonic tools. “Mnemonic tools” is a fancy word for memorization. Make some information into a funny song, or put the information into an acronym (remember VIBGYOR?) to help you remember what you’re trying to remember.
- Make sure you know the most important information first, and then move onto the rest. Study and understand key concepts before you branch out. This will give you a basic level of understanding to build on.
- Ask yourself why you are studying, what will be the benefit of studying and write it down on a piece of paper. Every time you get distracted look at the paper and remind yourself why studying is important for you.
Part 2 Avoiding Mistakes
- Don’t panic!
When you panic, you make mistakes, so keep calm throughout. If you successfully planned your revision, you will have no need to panic when the exam comes. Take a deep breath, tell yourself “I can do this,” and calm down .
- Minimize computer use.
Especially the internet. You learn better when you write things out yourself. Also refrain from using your cell phone as you will be replying to texts every minute, which is very distracting.
- Turn your internet off if you know you’ll be tempted. Turn your computer off or ask your friend to hold onto it. Basically, try to ensure that you’re not whiling away your time on the Internet when you’re supposed to be studying.
Don’t listen to music unless it helps you study. Some people need music in order to help them study, but try not to give your brain anything else to focus on while you’re studying. One more distraction, even if it’s calming music, is another thing your brain has to process in addition to the information you’re trying to learn.
- Don’t stray off-topic.
We all catch ourselves going off-topic from time to time. Sometimes it’s because the information we’re supposed to learn is boring; sometimes it’s because the information we don’t need to know is exciting. Whatever it is, wait until after you’ve studied to really dig deeper and explore different subjects.
- Always ask yourself: How likely is it that this information will show up on my test? If you’re really focused, you can rank the information from the most likely to the least likely, giving the most likely material the majority of your time and the least likely the rest of it.
Don’t get discouraged. Studying for a test can be daunting, especially in the beginning. Take things in manageable chunks and don’t worry about getting things perfect the first time around. Remember, you’re here to learn, not necessarily ace a test. Try to understand the “big picture” if you’re having trouble understanding the concept. This should make the details easier to understand.
Table of contents
I’ve wasted the whole day and now I only have one hour of study. What should I do?
Worrying about the time you’ve wasted doesn’t help. You’re here now, so make the most of it. Spend the hour reviewing the parts of the test you feel least confident about.
I can’t study continuously for some time with full concentration.What should I do?
Don’t overthink the actual study process. Break down the study times into smaller chunks of time, such as 20 minutes then have a break, with 5-minute breaks in between. Then, as you get more into the groove of studying, increase the amount of study time to 45 minutes, with 10-minute breaks in between. It’s mainly just the difficulty of starting off, so learn to start with something you enjoy or that is easy, progressing into harder things.
What can I do when studying takes much longer than planned and seems to dominate my entire life?
Try to enjoy studying. Then it will be much easier to study for long time without procrastination. Don’t get discouraged when you cannot finish studying as per your planning. Just think of the portion you have covered. If it seems to dominate your life, just keep this in your mind — “if you are studying when others are sleeping, you will be celebrating when others are just happy”.
Wherever I am, I can’t study and I feel sleepy, bored and restless. What can I do? I really want to become successful in life.
Don’t view studies as something compulsory or just something you need to do to get marks. Try persuading your brain to think like, “How cool is . I would like to know more about how it happened” etc. Look at study as a lifelong learning process rather than as a chore. If you can’t stop sleeping though, see your doctor as you might have a nutritional deficiency or a sleeping problem.
I often end up daydreaming whenever I sit back to study. What can I do?
The human mind can behave somewhat like a horse – once it is let free, it will run free across the pastures. To rein it in, find a strong motivation to study, such as a goal to achieve. This can help to restore your focus whenever you wander. This could be as simple as passing the class or as glorious as getting a degree in medicine or horticulture, or whatever may be your dreams.
I spend a lot of time studying, but I don’t remember what I studied. How do I retain more of what I learn?
You might want to take a test to see what kind of learner you are. You may be kinestethic, meaning you retain knowledge better if you, for example, act out the things you are reading, or maybe writing down on a notebook, making little studyguides; you may be visual, so you might need to see things to understand the way they work; there are many posibilities, and when you find out what way you learn the best, you will be able to set a study method that meets your needs, and that way, you will remember most of what you study.
How can I keep negative thoughts and memories out of my mind while studying?
Just relax and breathe. Listen to how you’re breathing and stay in the here and now. Think of your goals and come back to the subject you are studying.
What should I do if I have troubles concentrating?
Try to change your environment or studying at a different time of day. Some people can focus better if it is completely silent, while others need background noise and activity. Also, some people focus better in the morning, while others focus better in the evenly. Lastly, you can always try finding or creating a study group; you might find it easier to concentrate if you are studying with other people.
I feel very sleepy whenever I try to study. What do I do?
Studying in the same room as you sleep or relax can make it difficult to concentrate. Move to a cafe or other public location if you need to. It can also help to switch your studying sessions to a time of day when you feel more awake. In the long term, getting enough sleep and regular exercise will help you most.
What should I do if I keep on getting lost in my thoughts when studying?
Go to a quiet place to study where there won’t be any distractions. Take your time studying, and don’t rush. Remember to take breaks at least every two hours. If your mind starts wandering after a while, it is probably time for a short, 5 to 10 minute break.
Show more answers
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.
Short Video: How to Focus on Studying
Before you study anything, take a few deep breaths and tell yourself you can do this. Then, look around and make sure there aren’t any distractions, like a TV that’s on or a loud group of people. If there are, pack up your stuff and go find a nice quiet spot to study, like your bedroom, or a picnic table outside. Once you’re settled in, figure out the easiest thing you need to study and do that first. Starting out small will help you stay calm and not get frustrated!
Did this summary help you?
- Try thinking about your parents’ happiness after getting a good result.
- Don’t memorize lessons without understanding the content.
- Studying in a closed room boosts your productivity and eases any distractions.
- Take small practice tests on your own once you finish reading a topic.
- Relate the answers in a quite funny way. It’ll never bore you and you will remember it for a long time.
- Sleep well and have your day scheduled. Knowing that you have can have a break after an hour, or maybe two hours can motivate yourself to work hard. Working hard makes the time seem to go faster.
- If you feel drowsy or sleepy while studying take a quick nap so that when you wake up your mind is fresh to study and focus. Studying when you are sleepy is not a good idea to stay focused.
- Write your goals the wall so that you see them every day.
- Imagine how far ahead of you your friends and/or rivals might be. This will help you regain focus.
- Always study in a quiet room.
- Remember that grades do not go up on their own and this time that is put to studying affects greatly on your future test or tasks.
- Set yourself a timetable for your studies and time slots for each subject.
- Sleep for at least 7 hours before the exams. This will help you concentrate. Don’t stay awake all night on coffee.
- Try to avoid phones and computers during exams, and have plenty of bed rest before the day of examination.
- Don’t think about friends or compare yourself with others. Instead, think that studying is a fantasy and study with your imagination or with curiosity.
- Before you start some work, ask yourself three questions: “Why am I studying?”, “What will the results be?”, and “Will I be successful?”. Only go ahead when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions.
- If music helps you study, try to listen to the instrumental versions. That way you don’t sing along but still, have your favorite song to help you concentrate.
- Don’t leave your revision to the last minute. Plan in advance. Just remember, the earlier you start, the less stress you will feel. Always revise when you come home from school every day. Revise your work bit by bit.
Categories: Improving Your Study Focus
In other languages:
Français: se concentrer sur ses révisions, Español: concentrarse para estudiar, Deutsch: Sich aufs Lernen konzentrieren, Português: Se Concentrar nos Estudos, Italiano: Concentrarsi Durante lo Studio, Nederlands: Je concentreren tijdens het studeren, Русский: сосредоточиться на учебе, 中文: 专注于学习, العربية: التّركيز في دراستك, Čeština: Jak se soustředit na učení, Bahasa Indonesia: Fokus Belajar, हिन्दी: पढ़ाई पर ध्यान केन्द्रित करें, 한국어: 공부 집중도 올리는 법, ไทย: ตั้งใจอ่านหนังสือ, Tiếng Việt: Tập trung vào Học tập, 日本語: 集中して勉強する, Türkçe: Ders Çalışmaya Nasıl Odaklanılır
- Send fan mail to authors
Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 2,234,819 times.
Did this article help you?