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How to concentrate when studying

Updated: Nov 22, 2020

“Sine theta squared plus cosine theta squared equals to one, secant theta squared equals to one plus tangent theta squared… Ah! Help me!”

Math Lobby believes that majority of the students have faced such situation at least once in their education journey throughout the years, regardless of the level of education you were in. It can be difficult to concentrate when studying especially during the adolescence period which all of us just wants to be active and play. This can be extremely demotivating if it happens on a regular basis. Therefore, today Math Lobby is here to help! We will be discussing and sharing some tips and tricks to help you stay focused during your revision sessions, so let’s begin!

1. Take interval breaks during each study sessions

We know that students have been reminded about their assignments’ deadlines and homework to complete, but studying is a long-term marathon and no quality work will ever be produced if you are unable to stay focused during your study sessions.

We are sure you have heard this a thousand times (if you haven’t, then this is the time), break up your long study sessions and have short breaks during the intervals. Studies shows that taking breaks in between ninety-minutes study sessions can help to improve one’s attention abilities. However, the activities that you do during these short breaks you take matters as well:

2. Go soft and slow with the music

We are aware that many students love to listen to music when they are studying, using it as a way to block off noises around the vicinity. However, it is important to know what types of music to listen to in order for it to increase our productivity, and not be a counterproductive distraction to us instead.

Studies show that music with the tempo of around 60-70bpm (or beats per minute) like Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” or Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” helps students to build concentration endurance and retain more information. The volume of the music is an important key to note as well, keeping the volume at a low, just sufficiently audible volume would be optimal and prevents it from turning into a distraction instead.

3. Let your television and phone rest while you are studying

Despite televisions and phones being electronic gadgets that can function endlessly as long as you keep it charged, we should give it some rest at some point in time. There’s no better time to do this compared to when we need to avoid distractions while studying.

In our modern day and age, our phones stick to us on a daily basis, which makes us feel uncomfortable or insecure without it. We tend to be constantly checking for text messages or the next gaming notifications reminding us about “energy refills”.

So, why not give your phone the “energy refill” it needs instead: Keep your phones out of sight, leave it to charge in another room so that you will not be tempted to reach out for it. If it is inconvenient for you to leave it in another place (for example, when you are studying in a public space), then try switching your phone to airplane mode. By using airplane mode, it essentially cuts off your internet connection, mobile network and all forms application uses which requires a connection. This ensures that you are able to focus on your revisions without having to keep catching a glimpse of your phone’s screen lighting up every few minutes.

However, if you are studying at home, another potential distraction would be the television. Watching a drama or Netflix series while studying is definitely a no-no, it distracts you and shifts your attention onto the television screen instead of your revision since to us, it is definitely more interesting than the chunks of words in your assignments.

It is also important for you to note that even while during breaks, do not engage in any form of visual entertainment as you will subconsciously enter the relaxation mode, which causes procrastination and avoidance of the tasks at hand. (Want to learn more about how to stop procrastinating? Read our article on how to deal with procrastination to find out!)

4. Chew gum or candies to boost concentration!

Studies shows that whenever you study and have to memorize something, chewing a specific flavored gum can help you to induce a “memory storage trigger”. This means that whenever you need to try and recall things you have studied, chew a piece of the same flavored gum. This will stimulate your brain to trigger the information retained from the studying sessions you had whenever you are chewing gum of this flavor.

Apart from this, chewing gum also triggers something called the “mastication-induced arousal”, which basically means that the act of chewing something wakes us up, and enhances our performance in doing a task. Although this method is temporal and only lasts for a short while, it will be sufficient for it to last through your studying session.

We all know that chewing gum is banned and prohibited in Singapore, hence a good substitution will be chewing gummy candies or chewy candies. These works in a similar manner like the chewing gum since it encompasses the act of chewing as well, but be sure to always chew the same flavored candy in order to condition your body to adapt to this habit.

5. Focus on one thing at a time

Whenever there are multiple deadlines to meet, we will tend to get stressed out and worry more than usual. Hence, this makes us unable to concentrate properly on the task at hand. If you are trying to solve a simultaneous equation while thinking about the essay you have to hand in tomorrow as well, this will only deter you from completing your tasks efficiently. Therefore, we should learn to focus on one thing at a time, complete the task at hand first before viewing the next. If tasks are viewed all at once, it will result in getting potentially overwhelmed and constant over worrying. It is hence essential to devise a plan for the day and keep your goals of the day well-organized and constantly in check to maintain a less stressful mind, allowing you to concentrate better.

This will be all for today, Math Lobby hopes that every single one of you that have read this article is able to understand and know how to deter distractions and improve one’s concentration whenever they need to. As always: Work hard, stay motivated and I wish all students a successful and enjoyable journey with Math Lobby!

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