Preparing to Study: A Good Study Place
You need a good study place to be prepared to study. You should be able to answer YES to
all of the following questions:
Is my Study Place available to me whenever I need it?
Your Study Place does you little good if you cannot use it when you need it. If you are
using a Study Place that you must share with others for any reason, work out a schedule
so that you know when you can use it.
Is my Study Place free from interruptions?
It is important to have uninterrupted study time. You may have to hang a DO NOT
DISTURB sign on the door or take the phone off the hook.
Is my Study Place free from distractions?
Research shows that most students study best in a quiet environment. If you find that
playing a stereo or TV improves your mood, keep the volume low.
Does my Study Place contain all the study materials I need?
Be sure your Study Place includes reference sources and supplies such as pens and
pencils, paper, ruler, calculator, and whatever else you might need. If you use a
computer for your schoolwork, it should be in your Study Place.
Does my Study Space contain a large enough desk or table?
While working on an assignment or studying for a test, use a desk or table that is large
enough to hold everything you need. Allow enough room for writing and try to avoid
Does my Study Place have enough storage space?
You need enough room to store your study materials. Be sure you have enough storage
space to allow you to keep your desktop or other work surface clear of unnecessary
materials that can get in the way.
Does my Study Place have a comfortable chair?
A chair that is not comfortable can cause discomfort or pain that will interfere with your
studying. A chair that is too comfortable might make you sleepy. Select a chair in which
you can sit for long periods while maintaining your attention.
Does my Study Place have enough light?
The amount of light you need depends on what you are doing. The important thing is
that you can clearly see what you need to see without any strain or discomfort.
Does my Study Place have a comfortable temperature?
If your Study Place is too warm, you might become sleepy. If it is too cold, your thinking
may slow down and become unclear. Select a temperature at which your mind and body
Having a good Study Place is important for good studying.
Many students have difficulty concentrating while studying. Being able to concentrate while
you are studying is essential to doing well in class and on tests.
Here are 10 suggestions for improving your study concentration:
Study in a quiet place that is free from distractions and interruptions. Try to create a
space designated solely for studying.
Make a study schedule that shows what tasks you need to accomplish and when you
plan to accomplish each task. This will provide you with the structure you need for
Try to study at the time of day you work best. Some people work well early in the
morning, others late at night. You know what works best for you.
Make sure you are not tired and/or hungry when you study. Otherwise, you won't have
the energy you need to concentrate. Also, maintain your physical fitness.
Don't try to do two tasks at the same time. You won't be able to concentrate on either
one very well. Concentration means focusing on one thing to the exclusion of all else.
Break large tasks into series of smaller tasks that you can complete one at a time. If
you try to complete a large task all at once, you may feel overwhelmed and will be
unable to maintain your concentration.
Relax. It's hard to concentrate when you're tense. It's important to relax when working
on a task that requires concentration. Meditation is helpful to many students.
Clear your mind of worrisome thoughts. Mental poise is important for concentration. You
can get distracted by your own thoughts. Monitor your thoughts and prevent yourself
from following any that take you off track. Don't daydream.
Develop an interest in what you are studying. Try to relate what you are studying to you
own life to make it as meaningful as possible. This can motivate yourself to concentrate.
Take breaks whenever you feel fatigued. There is no set formula for when to take
breaks. You will know when you need to take a break.
Studying without concentration is like trying to fill a bucket with water when the
bucket has a hole in its bottom. It doesn't work.
The Ten Study Habits of Successful Students
Successful students have good study habits. They apply these habits to all of their classes.
Read about each study habit. Work to develop any study habit you do not have.
1. Try not to do too much studying at one time.
If you try to do too much studying at one time, you will tire and your studying will not
be very effective. Space the work you have to do over shorter periods of time. Taking
short breaks will restore your mental energy.
2. Plan specific times for studying.
Study time is any time you are doing something related to schoolwork. It can be
completing assigned reading, working on a paper or project, or studying for a test.
Schedule specific times throughout the week for your study time.
3. Try to study at the same times each day.
Studying at the same times each day establishes a routine that becomes a regular part
of your life, just like sleeping and eating. When a scheduled study time comes up during
the day, you will be mentally prepared to begin studying.
4. Set specific goals for their study times.
Goals will help you stay focused and monitor your progress. Simply sitting down to
study has little value. You must be very clear about what you want to accomplish during
your study times.
5. Start studying when planned.
You may delay starting your studying because you don't like an assignment or think it is
too hard. A delay in studying is called "procrastination." If you procrastinate for any
reason, you will find it difficult to get everything done when you need to. You may rush
to make up the time you wasted getting started, resulting in careless work and errors.
6. Work on the assignment they find most difficult first.
Your most difficult assignment will require the most effort. Start with your most difficult
assignment since this is when you have the most mental energy.
7. Review their notes before beginning an assignment.
Reviewing your notes can help you make sure you are doing an assignment correctly.
Also, your notes may include information that will help you complete an assignment.
8. Tell their friends not to call them during their study times.
Two study problems can occur if your friends call you during your study times. First,
your work is interrupted. It is not that easy to get back to what you were doing. Second,
your friends may talk about things that will distract you from what you need to do.
Here's a simple idea - turn off your cell phone during your study times.
9. Call another student when they have difficulty with an assignment.
This is a case where "two heads may be better than one."
10. Review their schoolwork over the weekend.
Yes, weekends should be fun time. But there is also time to do some review. This will
help you be ready to go on Monday morning when another school week begins.
These ten study habits can help you throughout your education. Make sure they
are your study habits.
Managing Your Study Time
There are only so many hours in a day, a week, and a term. You cannot change the number of hours,
but you can decide how to best use them. To be successful in school, you must carefully manage your
study time. Here is a strategy for doing this.
Prepare a Term Calendar
At the beginning of a term, prepare a Term Calendar. Update it as the term goes on. Here is
what to do to prepare a Term Calendar.
• Record your school assignments with their due dates and your scheduled tests.Record
your planned school activities.
Record your planned school activities.
Record your known out-of-school activities.
Prepare a Weekly Schedule
Each Sunday before a school week, prepare a Weekly Schedule. Update it as the week goes
on. Here is what to do to prepare a Weekly Schedule.
• Record your daily classes.
Enter things to be done for the coming week from your Term Calendar.
Review your class notes from the previous week to see if you need to add any school
Add any out-of-school activities in which you will be involved during the week.
Be sure to include times for completing assignments, working on projects, and studying
for tests. These times may be during the school day, right after school, evenings, and
Prepare a Daily Organizer
Each evening before a school day, prepare a Daily Organizer for the next day. Place a √
next to each thing to do as you accomplish it. Here is what to do to prepare a Daily
• Enter the things to do for the coming day from your Weekly Schedule.
Enter the things that still need to be accomplished from your Daily Organizer from the
Review your class notes for the day just completed to see if you need to add any school
Add any out-of-school activities in which you will be involved the next day.
Your Weekly Schedule should have more detail than your Term Calendar. Your Daily
Organizer should have more detail than your Weekly Schedule. Using a Term Calendar, a
Weekly Schedule, and a Daily Organizer will help you make the best use of your time.