Improving Concentration

  1. Do whatever is necessary to ensure understanding of what you are reading or studying.

  • understand course content each day.
  • relate concepts to something that you know.
  • actively participate to understand by questioning, writing, and etc.
  • create an environment conducive to learning. 

  2. Maintain an interest in what you are studying.

  • if you are not interested, find someone who is, perhaps as tutor.
  • survey and preview material.
  • organize the material.
  • focus on the big picture or main ideas.
  • plan and arrange for a variety of study activities.
  • study the most difficult course first.
  • plan rewards and recreation for completed tasks.

  3. Have a definite purpose in mind.

  • set goals in terms of what you want to accomplish, be SPECIFIC.
  • push yourself a little; challenge yourself to read a little faster.
  • read to seek answers to questions.
  • approach new information globally, then break it into smaller chunks.

  4. Maintain a pattern of attentive work.

  • study in short blocks of time.
  • make sure you have had adequate sleep and have eaten so you have energy to concentrate.
  • take breaks.
  • use a check system; every time your mind wanders, jot a check mark on paper. Try to reduce the number of check marks per study session.
  • create a worry list or a to do list.
  • stop and tell yourself, "No, I will get back to work."
  • avoid looking up when you hear a noise.
  • challenge yourself to increase your concentration in small increments of time.

  5. Transform good study procedures into habits.

  • have a study schedule and stick to it.
  • have a study environment as free of distractions as possible.
  • do the most difficult when you are the most alert.
  • remember it takes 21 days to form a habit.

  6. Ensure that you are rewarded for productive study.

  • reward and treat yourself for completed tasks.
  • create opportunities to praise yourself and receive praise from others.
  • take inventory of all the new learning that you have acquired.
  • give yourself a mental "pat on the back."

Improving Memory

  1. Use spaced rather than massed learning.
  2. Transfer learning from short-term to long-term memory.
  3. Practice self recitation.
  4. Relate to new and previously learned material.
  5. Make study guides, flash cards, concept maps, tables, diagrams, etc.
  6. Memorize some material.
  7. Review frequently.
  8. Review before sleeping.
  9. Mentally decide that you intend to learn.
  10. Write specific objectives for yourself.
  11. Stay actively involved; Ask "What do I want to learn?", "What do I know?", and "What did I learn?"
  12. Use artificial aids such as mnemonic devices.
  13. Use visualization techniques.
  14. Use picture-object associations.
  15. Use memory pegs.

For Online Students - Since so much of your material is visual, you may need to activate more of your learning modalities by intentionally reciting information, reciting out loud, or writing study guides, flash cards, practice tests, etc.  Remember to use visual, auditory, and tactile strategies.  Click here for more information on learning styles.