How do I avoid unusual thoughts while studying?

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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.

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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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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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