A Student’s Guide to Stay Focused During Long Hours of Studying

Written by Smart Guides For Learning | April 2023

Keeping your focus during long hours of studying is quite challenging. Most of the students see a decline in their motivation to continue studying after an hour. The number of hours you spend studying does not correlate to great scores on exams since exams can vary depending on the difficulty of topics. Some subjects test your knowledge on concepts but some subjects require focused and patient solving practice. If multiple exams are coming up on the same day, you may have no other choice but to do marathon studying. Subjects in college or university can be challenging to study especially for long hours but there are ways you can make this work.

In this article, we will list the ways for remaining focused and productive during those marathon study sessions. Here is a detailed guide for enduring long periods of study:

Contents In This Article

Before You Start Studying…

1. Find a quiet study area

First, before you start your studying session, you need to find a quiet study area. Choose for a peaceful, distraction-free setting for your studies like a library, a coffee shop,  an outdoor park, or an even just a private space in your house. Finding a calm and peaceful environment to study for long hours can make a huge difference in your learning and productivity.

The most well-liked study locations for students are libraries and coffee shops.

Libraries have a serene and well-lit environment with cozy chairs and tables. Libraries also have the best access to a variety of books, journals, references, and online databases.

Coffee shops can be a great option if students are looking for a calm environment that provides free Wi-Fi and food. A coffee shop should be a good place to choose if you plan to study in groups since you can study and sip some coffee at the same time. However, try to stay away from crowded times during the day especially if you get easily distracted.

If you would like a place with a hint of nature, go to outdoor parks. Places outdoors like parks are good for mental clarity and relaxation.

Lastly, if you like studying alone, your room or any private space in your house is a good study environment. You can play good music that helps you study and continue your study session.

2. Plan your study schedule

Create a study schedule that will assist you in staying on track. It is best to include the hours when you feel most energetic and productive.

You need to plan out three important blocks.

Study Hours – This is the number of hours you allot for each subject during your study session.

Subjects to Study – These are the subjects that you need to cover during the number of hours.

Study Breaks – These breaks include your meal breaks or the times you need to stretch and pause.

Your study schedule may include more than these three blocks. You can personalize your own study schedule according to your needs. Just make sure you don’t leave these three out.

Creating a study schedule is critical for academic success for several reasons.

First. A study schedule aids in the establishment of a routine, disciplines you to follow a dedicated study time, and minimize procrastination.

Second. A well-planned schedule keeps students from cramming at the last minute, which can be overwhelming and ineffective at retaining information. You can cover more material that you need to learn and not just focus on the easy subjects or subjects you enjoy.

Third. A study schedule also provides structure and organization that can allow you to better manage prioritize your study tasks depending on the difficulty of each topic.

Fourth. An effective study schedule can also give you more time to do other important tasks. You should remember that a good balance between academic workload, extracurricular activities, and personal time is the secret to prevent your mind and body to be physically and mentally exhausted everyday.

In other words, planning your study time is essential for your success in school and university.

While You Study…

3. Concentrate on one task

Concentrate on one task at a time during study sessions. Having many topics to review is quite overwhelming but use the study schedule that you created to guide you to concentrate on one topic first before going in on another.

You can use the Pomodoro productivity method where you can work for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat the process. You can prevent burnout and maintain focus by doing this method.

Divide your work into smaller blocks and assign more manageable tasks on each block so that you can manage your tasks wisely. Better time management is made possible by the Pomodoro technique because divides your work into manageable intervals.

4. Study the difficult topic first

Finish off the difficult topic first. If you are watching lectures and revising notes, study the subject that you are most struggling with. You should start your studying session with the topic that needs the most attention because after a few hours your attention span and energy level would slowly decrease. Concentration is required for effective learning and retention. So, better keep your concentration until your last minute of studying.

5. Maximize study aids and resources

Maximize the use of study aids, study guides, and other resources like flashcards, study materials, and mnemonics to help you remember information. Written notes and printed books are always the traditional route but if you have all your notes on your laptop, make sure that you have temporarily blocked the sites that might distract you.

You Might Also Like: How To Create Effective Study Guides Using Graphic Organizers

6. Pause and take a break

Some students might prefer to close their eyes and take a nap. But ideally, you can stretch, go for a brisk walk, or engage in some light exercise like aerobics during study breaks. Doing light exercises is better than scrolling through social media. A minute of social media can turn into an hour of social media and before you notice it, you are already wasting minutes from your study time.

7. Drink water and eat healthy snacks

Keep yourself hydrated and eat some healthy, delicious snacks. If you want better concentration and relieve fatigue after long hours of studying, consume plenty of water. Keep a handy glass of water near you and drink water as you study or during your study breaks. You can also bring out nutritious snacks that will keep you motivated. Allowing yourself to pause can rejuvenate your brain once in a while. 

Lastly, here is the bonus tip.

8. Ask help and advice

Ask help from your professors. Some professors are willing to give free advice and most of them would want to know how they can help their struggling students in their course. You can ask your professors some pointers to review for the exams. If you have the resources, get a tutor.

If you are finding it difficult to concentrate or comprehend the subject matter, hire an expert who can help you be accountable. A tutor will not only help you to review difficult concepts and topics you are struggling with but can keep you disciplined to study. Asking a tutor your questions would be better for students who are shy to ask questions in class. Tutors can also point out the weaknesses of a student that needs personalized attention.

Article Summary

Maintaining focus while studying is an important aspect of academic success and personal development.

Your ability to grasp and process the necessary information more efficiently is dependent on how disciplined you are in staying away from distractions and how you follow your personalized study schedule. Focusing on one topic at a time can also be less overwhelming and less stressful. When we are not focused, our minds tend to wander which makes it more challenging to absorb and remember important information that we need to recall when we answer questions in the exams.

Get a restful sleep each night to maintain alertness and concentration during study sessions. Maintain your motivation by setting realistic goals and rewarding yourself when you achieve them. Furthermore, concentrated study allows us to complete tasks more quickly, freeing up time for other activities.

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