Did you know one of the easiest ways to get higher grades is by improving your learning environment? When you manage your physical space, you can avoid needless distractions and improve your concentration dramatically. As a student, you face many challenges. It is pointless to study in an environment that does not support your goal one hundred percent.
Find a place to study
It is sometimes said that each space has its sacred purpose. The best place to study is one that you have dedicated entirely to study. Although a few students have the concentration necessary to study effectively in the middle of a crowded space, most of us need a degree of silence, privacy, and comfort to get the most from the study session. The increasing trend for students to study in popular coffee shops, with people laughing, music playing, and coffee brewing is far from desirable. The overload of sensory sensations in such an environment detracts seriously from your ability to focus attentively on what you are learning.
Ideally, your primary study place should be for studying only. It should not be the place you eat, sleep, watch TV, talk to friends, listen to music, or exercise. That effectively excludes the kitchen table, bed, living room, or family room. Try and choose a part of your room that is comfortable for you and where you can store academic materials permanently.
The temperature should be well-balanced, not too hot or too cold. The air should be fresh, as you need oxygen to fuel your brain; stale air will zap your energy.
As far as possible, choose a spot where you have natural, rather than artificial light. If you must have artificial light, choose incandescent over fluorescent light, which can cause you to strain your eyes.
Because you will be sitting most of the time, choose the best chair you can afford. A good choice is one that supports your body and allows you to sit for long periods without feeling pain or discomfort. The chair back and seat should be padded. The soles of your feet should be able to touch the floor. If you don’t have a good chair, add a pillow or quilt to make it more comfortable for you to study.
Many students ask, “Can I study with the music on?” Well, the answer is yes and no. According to research studies, music with words distracts the mind and should be avoided, particularly if you are reading or writing. On the other hand, certain kinds of instrumental music, particularly classical baroque music, played softly in the background, is said to enhance the brain’s ability to learn, remember and review information. Some people prefer absolute quiet while they are studying, because that’s what they have grown accustomed to.
By designating one area as your study center, you can also gather together all the study materials you may require before you start studying. You don’t want to interrupt yourself by going to search for a pencil sharpener, eraser, stapler, highlighter, paper, paper clips, index cards, ruler, or textbook. By keeping your study area well-stocked and well-organized, you won’t waste precious study time doing other things.
If possible, try to have a shelf or two nearby for your textbooks. When you look over at the shelf, it will remind you of your academic goals. Use labeled magazine holders or baskets to store related papers and booklets so they don’t get lost.
A bulletin board is a great way to keep important messages and papers in sight. They can help reinforce academic concepts or remind you of upcoming deadlines. If you use the board to remind you of social engagements, keep it away from your line of vision while studying, or else your brain will start engaging with that information. Clear away the board from time to time so it remains relevant, otherwise it just becomes a useless eyesore.
If you have adequate space in your room, one of the best investments you can make is a white board, on which you can write or draw with color dry-erase markers. You can use the board time and again to recall info, make connections, or map out a subject. You can make lists, write dates, or practice formulas. Using different colored markers will add to the experience.
Your calendar is an essential visual tool to keep track of upcoming exams, project deadlines and due dates. It also helps you think in terms of time – where you are today, how long you have, and what else needs to get done by when.
Studying is not easy; sometimes you need all the encouragement you can get. Yet no one may be home or around to give you a warm hug. Instead, try to create an environment that fosters good emotions and confidence. Have pictures of happy family times around. Put up quotations that inspire you. Place awards and certificates on a nearby bulletin board. All these positive messages will boost your emotional strength and energy.