How to avoid unusal thoughts while studying?

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Are you talking about distractions?  If you are thinking about something other than the topic, you might need to take a break.  Try to clear your mind before you begin studying.  If you're upset about something, that's not a good time to study.  You also have to be disciplined.  If you start getting off topic in your head, bring yourself back and focus again.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would recommend three possible things, depending on your personality:

  • Wear ear plugs.  I used this a lot when I really needed to concentrate.  It blocked out noise and it really was a signal that it was time to be serious.
  • Listen to music.  If you are the sort of person who can just listen to the music and have it feel like background noise, then it can be helpful.
  • If possible, don't study on a computer.  It's so easy to click over to Facebook or whatever.  So try to just have hard copies of stuff to study from.
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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

As with so much in the realm of studying and study skills, I think finding an approach that works for you is going to be critically important.  I am not entirely certain that any sort of "magic solution" exists.  Individuals have to try different approaches that end up working for them.  One thing that might help is to study in chunks and sections, as opposed to layers.  For example, if you have to study a particular topic, segment the studying into different tasks or sections that need to be studied.  Budget out time for completing those elements might help in a couple of ways.  By allowing for breaks to be taken when one section is done and when the next needs to be resumed, it gives the mind a chance to rest and regroup, which would allow the unusual thoughts to be present, but not tradeoff with the studying.  Additionally, segmenting what has to be done might also allow the task to be accomplished in a more worthwhile manner because it allows you to focus on incremental and steady progression, as opposed to a more vague and ambiguous approach that allows for unusual thoughts during studying to emerge.

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Wiggin42 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Valedictorian

Posted on

The best way to avoid unwanted thoughts is to get rid of distractions. Maybe your cell phone messages cause you to think more about your social life than your studies. Turning off such distractions gives your mind less fodder to work with. Work in the same place every day to set up a routine. 

eli468's profile pic

eli468 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I have this issue of running into daydreams when I don't feel like studying or when I have been studying for awhile. If you hit those, you can always give yourself a small break.

One thing that helped me was to have a goal. For example, in my anatomy classes I would need to study large amounts of medical terminology and diagrams of the human body. I would make a goal where if I could get 50 words without a mistake then I could take a break and watch a quick 20 minute episode on tv. If I was able to memorize a diagram completely then I could take a break.

Another thing that helps me is to make it fun. I try to find online resources or interactive games to teach me. When it feels less and less like studying it can be fun and feel more rewarding. 

Studying with a friend can be distracting to some, but can also be very helpful to keep you on track if you both go through the materials together and review together until you have the information down.

zumba96's profile pic

zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Stay in a calm environment and remove all obstacles of distraction from you. Try to stay focused on what you are doing and make notes, flashcards, study hard for 20 minutes and take 5 minute breaks after that

arrellbelle's profile pic

arrellbelle | Student, College Sophomore | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Sometimes I get distracted too when i'm studying. This is usually because I listen to music while studying or something i'm studying reminded me of something in real life. I usually try to avoid being distracted by focusing on the task at hand. I try to analyze what i'm reading, take notes, highlight, and make flashcards. After 25 minutes of studying, I take a break and relax. After 25 minutes is up, I resume studying again. By giving yourself a break lets your mind de-stress itself.

juliapanton's profile pic

juliapanton | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Each of us are different in the way we study and the environment in which study will always vary too.  It is important to know what method works for you.  Spend some time thinking about what method works for you ... if you like to read copious notes, or draw diagrams, discuss with a friend, re-write notes - we all have our different ways.  Perhaps the way you are studying is not the best for you - try something different.

Noise is a big distraction for many, but for others they will work better with music in the background rather than silence.  Again, experiment with different things and see what works.

Try to get plenty of sleep and eat properly.  Tiredness and lack of good nutrition at times of study, especially under pressure, will make it doubly hard.

If you find your mind is wandering to subjects other than that which you are studying then understand that this is just a normal event and try not to get too angry with yourself for it.  Just gently bring your mind back to the subject in hand.  Take breaks as often as you need but be disciplined and stick to your programme.  Make a study timetable - for example forty minutes study with a five minute break at the end.  Then another forty minutes with another five minutes and so on.  If you are studying something in which you have little interest, this is going to be hard to do.  Perhaps try to focus on what you hope to achieve by studying this, reminding yourself of the reason why you need to.  Motivation is the key here.

Good luck with your studies.

juliapanton's profile pic

juliapanton | College Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

Each of us are different in the way we study and the environment in which study will always vary too.  It is important to know what method works for you.  Spend some time thinking about what method works for you ... if you like to read copious notes, or draw diagrams, discuss with a friend, re-write notes - we all have our different ways.  Perhaps the way you are studying is not the best for you - try something different.

Noise is a big distraction for many, but for others they will work better with music in the background rather than silence.  Again, experiment with different things and see what works.

Try to get plenty of sleep and eat properly.  Tiredness and lack of good nutrition at times of study, especially under pressure, will make it doubly hard.

If you find your mind is wandering to subjects other than that which you are studying then understand that this is just a normal event and try not to get too angry with yourself for it.  Just gently bring your mind back to the subject in hand.  Take breaks as often as you need but be disciplined and stick to your programme.  Make a study timetable - for example forty minutes study with a five minute break at the end.  Then another forty minutes with another five minutes and so on.  If you are studying something in which you have little interest, this is going to be hard to do.  Perhaps try to focus on what you hope to achieve by studying this, reminding yourself of the reason why you need to.  Motivation is the key here.

Good luck with your studies.

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