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NightOwl

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I just wondered if any of the members here had any tips on how to concentrate while I am studying? I find as I am studying a subject eg Politics, that I tend to drift into my own thoughts about that subject and lose concentration of studying the book. I keep having to draw my mind back to what I am studying.

Any ideas would be very much appreciated. :read2:

NightOwl
 

David Baxter

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Make a special place for studying away from other distractions. If you are having trouble studying in your usual place, move to a different spot.

Give yourself breaks. For example, for every half hour or hour of studying, plan a break to do something else more rewarding for 15 minutes or so. Reward yourself for studying.

If you're having a bad day, take a break and come back to it later.
 

NightOwl

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Thank you David, that's some good tips there. I have been trying to study for long periods. One of my problems is that I have to re-read sections of the book to absorb it properly due to some sort of learning disability, and so it takes me a bit more time than other people.

I've been trying to get an assessment but it is very difficult where I live. I've been told by someone dealing with learning disabilities by phone that chatted to me that he can tell I am intelligent but he feels that it is some form of dyslexia. I've been reading around trying to get some idea of it and the closest I've found is something called Surface Dyslexia but I'm not sure.

I often work from notes and use a spell box or my computer to help me, but have no difficulty in reading at all. Face-to-face discussions are fine - I can easily talk over a subject. I understand that the OU will give me more time for my exams.

Thank you for your help. :)

NightOwl

As an extra, this is something I've had trouble with since childhood; it was diagnosed as a learning disability when I was 10, but not labelled. I had wondered at one time whether it could be to do with the fact that I had concussion as a young child, but I'm not sure.

NightOwl
 
Last edited:

David Baxter

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One more suggestion:

I always hated reading and re-reaqing the same material over and over. What I would do instead is read the main textbook and then go to the library and find one or two other books on the same subject and read them. It was like reviewing but less boring.
 

HA

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I searched all of the different university websites for study tips and compiled those that I thought might be most helpful then tried them.

Virginia Tech had a study distractions analysis which looked at places that you study to determine the one with the least distractions. List 3 places you usually study. Check True or False for each item listed for all 3 places. The least distracting place has the most False responses and should be where you study.
  • People distract me here
  • Much of what I see here reminds me of things
  • I often hear radio or tv
  • I often here phone ringing
  • I take too many breaks here
  • I seem especially bothered by distractions here
  • I tend to talk to people
  • Breaks are too long here
  • I don't study at regular times here
  • I don't enjoy studying here
  • People distract me here
  • Temperature is not good
  • Chairs, table lighting are not good

Something that came to mind when reading your post....would reading into a recorder and listening to it with head phones help?

Some other strategies:

Use peak alertness times to read or study difficult or less interesting material. If you are tired or hungry you will be distracted.

Use cue words when your mind starts to wander eg., say, "Focus" to yourself.

If you have other issues on your mind, write them down on a to do list or deal with them in a small step so you can refocus back to your work at hand.

Use all of your senses while studying....sound, taste, smell, sight, touch. Incorporate them creatively into your reading/studying.

Good luck, NightOwl
 

NightOwl

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Thank you for your good suggestions, I'm very grateful. I've managed to tuck my desk away in a peaceful room and I'm a very organized person. At the moment I'm dealing with running a business with my husband, writing a book, one other largish project; I've organized all these into files so that I can pick out one at a time; looking at your suggestions, I'll unplug the phone in my room, tell my husband I'm needing an hour's slot without distraction. I particularly like the idea of speaking into a recorder and listening back.

Also I've almost got my Dragon Naturally Speaking package up and running, I had a slight delay due to flu and couldn't speak very well.

I'm going to put quite a lot of your good suggestions into practice.

NightOwl
 

HA

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Another thought about resources for study tips:
The disabilities/special needs department of your college/university have trained staff that are there to help. They would have resources or tips that may be especially helpful for your particular learning needs. Touch bases with these folks for sure.

I had never heard about the Dragon Naturally Speaking program. It may be helpful for anyone wanting to write a book. Thanks for sharing that.

Cheers
 

NightOwl

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Thanks very much HeartArt. Yes, I've been in touch with the someone that deals with learning disabilities at the Open University. He was actually someone who suggested the Dragon Naturally Speaking and by coincidence I had just bought it that week. I've now got it to understand most of my words; it's now just down to learning how to use all the facilities within it so that I can write a document or email etc. That should cut down my time as I have to double check everything that I write to check that I have got it spelt correctly and it reads properly.

At the moment I am doing pre-study with the help of someone with a psychology degree and my course with the OU starts in September. As I live in a reasonably isolated area it will be via telephone and my computer. The Dragon Naturally Speaking package is working out very well for me and I am really enjoying it; it can be a bit of a strain on the vocal chords while you are training it but once it understands you it gets easier and it will certainly help me with writing my book and I also write articles at present.

Thanks very much for your all of your input, it's been most helpful.

NightOwl
 

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