The right study environment can make or break your college experience. If you are committed to doing your best while you are earning your degree, you must spend time, energy and resources to build the best study habits.
The perfect study environment is different for everybody. Many factors contribute to a positive study environment, including location, noise level and lighting. Here are seven ways you can improve your study environment.
1. Make it a Distraction-Free Zone
You cannot study if you cannot concentrate. Create an organized workspace to stay focused and minimize distractions. Equip yourself with what you will need for your study session such as headphones, textbooks, water and other necessities. Eliminate the need to get up frequently, other than to stretch. This will help keep you at your workspace longer and enable you to experience a richer, more focused and more productive study session.
2. Tame the Tech
Think about how often you are distracted by something as simple as your cell phone. Every time you receive a notification, you are tempted to look. If you see that you got a text or email you may be inclined to open it immediately. Likewise, notifications from social media can cause distractions. When studying, silence your notifications or put your phone away.
3. Use Your Space
Find a location that provides the space you need for all your resources. Books, laptops and other technology should be considered in selecting your study space. Some locations may have more table room available than others. Scope out different locations until you find the one that is most conducive to effective studying.
4. Take Advantage of Your Resources
In some cases, technology can be used to your advantage. You can set timers to help break up your study sessions. One popular method to help people focus and be more productive is the Pomodoro method. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work undistracted during that time. Then take a five-minute break. Repeat this process four times and then take a longer break.
Do not discount traditional resources like handheld calculators, pens, pencils and notebooks in your study environment. Offline resources can help you stay focused, while providing a break from the screen.
5. Get Up and Go
If you cannot set up a steady study environment, or you do not have a set schedule that allows you to study in the same place all the time, equip yourself to study on the go. Prepare a bag that includes everything you need to study like your laptop, pens, notebooks and other study resources. Always keep the bag with you to ensure that you can study whenever you have the time.
6. Maximize Alertness
Study sessions are not effective if they last for hours and hours without a break. People find a variety of ways to sustain alertness during study sessions. Some drink coffee or snack on healthy foods. Others need to move around and be active in order to refocus on what they are studying. Find out what works for you to re-energize and rejuvenate yourself during a study session.
7. Add Others (or Don’t)
Some people do better when they study in a group as opposed to individually. If you are someone processes information better when you talk through what you are learning or reading, consider creating or joining a study group. Alternatively, if you are someone who does not like noise and distraction while you are studying, then study by yourself. If someone asks you to join a study group and you want to make that connection or build that friendship, do your personal studying before you join and then use the study group to help others.
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.