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What is the best way to get focused and start studying?

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Christina’s Answer

A great way to start studying is to create a plan that outlines how long you will spend studying for each subject. Creating an outline helps you stay on track and it gives you a metric for how much you can get done in the allotted time. For some of the best ways to study, I've found that Quizlet is very helpful because you have multiple ways to interact with the material.

Christina recommends the following next steps:

Create a plan
Make a Quizlet
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Noah’s Answer

I struggle a lot with this question: how can I play videogames/goof off when there are an infinite number of ways I could better myself (or at least get my homework done)? What helps me is to understand that despite being incredibly sophisticated our brains are ultimately wired with some old primal instincts that never really left. These instincts don't follow any logical process and have huge changes on our mood and productivity: think about the feeling you get after accomplishing something really difficult. As a result, often irrational changes such as working in sunshine or receiving a compliment can make us more or less productive. (One economic study even found that subject were willing to produce paper airplanes for half the amount of money if they were complimented after each airplane). Another important realization is these instincts are incredibly finicky--what works for one person may not work for another, and what worked this week may not work the next.

With that in mind, I can recommend a number of techniques that might be helpful in tricking your subconscious:
* The pomodoro technique: https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique
* Creating detailed todo lists: https://ed.ted.com/on/7iFzKKiq
* Being intentional about how time is allocated: https://www.ted.com/talks/laura_vanderkam_how_to_gain_control_of_your_free_time?language=en
There are many more, but that should get you started.
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Tian Hao’s Answer

For me, the most important thing is to make sure that I am far away from any distractions, such as my computer and my phone. It is so easy to venture off and look at the myriad of other things that the Internet has to offer.

It is also important to make sure that you are actually studying what you want to study! You should also identify why you are interested in a particular major or class, and ask yourself whether if you really want to be there. I at one point signed up for a class that I thought would be interested in, but two weeks into the semester, I realized that I'm not taking any information in and I am learning just for the sake of learning. I ended up dropping the class.
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Cade’s Answer

I find the best way to get motivated to study is to ask yourself why you are studying in the first place. If you realize that you are not studying to get a good grade but rather learn as much as possible, you will approach studying with a much more positive mindset. Also, try to drink coffee before because it will help you focus.
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Erica’s Answer

For me, one of the most important steps in getting focused and start studying is to evaluate where I am at mentally. I often subconsciously ask myself the following questions:

- Do I feel like studying right now?
- What have I been doing? Do I need a break?

I think what works best for me is being honest with myself and realizing when I may need to take a break and not do work. Often times, when I try to do work when I'm just not there mentally, I end up spending a lot of time "working" but with very low productivity levels. However, if I had taken a short committed break where I did not think about the work/studying I had to do at all, it would have allowed me to be more productive in the time I spent doing work.

Ultimately, if you don't feel like doing work at the moment/are not focused, sometimes it can be beneficial to just take a brief break without thinking about the work/studying you have to do. Do something you enjoy, which can refresh your mind and allow you to focus more when it is time to start studying.

Once you do that, I think many of the methods explained in previous answers are extremely helpful in staying focused while studying.
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Sydney’s Answer

Hi Jessica!

When deciding how to go about studying, it is important to remember that different tactics work for everyone! Some are more visual learners and so watching instructional videos can be helpful, others learn by writing down what they are trying to learn, or by explaining/teaching the concept to others, etc. There is not one perfect way to study and it is all about finding what works for you! I have found it helpful to use Quizlet when trying to memorize something and teaching someone else a concept when I am trying to gain a better understanding. Often using a combination of study methods is most helpful. I hope this helps! Just remember that it often takes time to learn what works best for you. I'm sure you will do great!

Sydney
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Michael’s Answer

For me, staying organized was very important to maintain focus and to get motivated to study. I kept a calendar of homework, project and exam due dates so that I could begin to prioritize the upcoming deadlines. Dedicating a certain amount of time or a certain day to a subject also helped because I created a schedule that I knew I needed to abide by to keep organized. The goals I had for myself upon completion of my studies also motivated me and helped me to stay focused. I was truly interested in the material I studied and I looked at each assignment as a stepping stone to reaching my goal. Adapting a mindset to see the positive in the hard work you are putting into college may motivate you to keep your focus.
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Erika’s Answer

Hi Jessica,

My best advice for studying, especially during finals week, is to delete any distractions from your phone. Typically, I would delete the social media apps that I would find myself on when I avoided studying, so as a solution, I deleted them and re-downloaded them after my exams! Also, if you have a lot of assignments or homework for classes, creating a physical to-do list was always helpful, because you feel productive when you check them off, and you have all your obligations in front of you.
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Matthew’s Answer

I currently have a full time job, and I am a full time masters student. I have to constantly set blocks of time for me to study/ do homework, even after a long day work at my job.

My best tips are...

Matthew recommends the following next steps:

Start with something easy (check your emails)
Set a timer on your phone to work for 25 straight minutes without any interruption.( Take 10 min break) Do it again.
Get in a routine - do a little every single day, never let it pile up
Create a calendar of all deadlines and due dates!
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Lauren’s Answer

That's a great question! I like to find a corner of my home and dedicate it to study time so that I can start to train my brain that when I am in the space it's time to get to work! I also like to listen to a "focus" playlist on Spotify (or whatever music you like. I find that if I listen to music with words I get distracted, but I like to have something on in the background.
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Alina’s Answer

As someone who gets distracted easily, finding a separate space to dedicate to studying to really helps me. That can be a desk, going to the library, or a coffee shop. Getting started with studying is tough, so going to the library to study puts me in a more focused mindset that helps me get work done. I also like to turn off the notifications on my phone because it distracts me and I end up browsing through my phone. It takes time to figure out what study environment and habits works best for you, so test out various options!
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Blake’s Answer

Set aside time for "fun" and set aside time for "studying". You need to have fun in life, or you will be miserable. However, you have to study to get good grades, etc. What I would recommend is set aside 2 hours for fun in a day and 2 hours for studying. That way you plan on doing both and you don't feel that one over powers the other.
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Tara’s Answer

The best way to get focused and begin studying is by sitting somewhere alone (whether it be a quiet library or a coffee shop, whichever works best for you) create a list of what needs to get done, put the list in order and then get started working on it. When making this list it is important to remember due dates so you can figure out which things to prioritize. A cup of coffee always helps me as well!
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Sarah’s Answer

An effective way to start studying can be to make a schedule a few weeks out from your exam date to ensure you'll have enough time to get through all the material. To start the process of studying each day, it can be helpful to pick a topic you want to study that day and block out a certain amount of time you will be studying to help keep you focused for that time period. It is also helpful to find a space you enjoy studying in and where you can get in the mood for studying when you're ready.
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Will’s Answer

I believe the first step to getting focused is to eliminate distractions either permanently or temporarily. This could mean having to limit the amount of time spent hanging out with friends (temporary) or maybe you realize that you are on social media too much and are not getting much benefit so you cut it out of your daily routine (permanent). After you have made those decisions, you should create a study plan that works for you. This includes the days, hours, and topics that to will study. Be sure that it is a realistic plan for you so you can stick to it.

Will recommends the following next steps:

Eliminate distractions
Create a plan you can stick to
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Ellie’s Answer

A really good way to start studying is to make sure you have everything you need before you begin, this way you have no excuse to put it off any longer. This means make sure you have water, a charger, snacks, and you've removed distractions.

My biggest piece of advice to STAY focused is to use an app called FocusKeeper. This app allows you to set timers that have you work for 25 minutes, and then take a 5 minute break. When you complete a certain number of rounds, you get a long break for 20 minutes. I love this app because it separates break time from study time. This means you don't feel guilty for being on your phone or social media when it's break time, but you also stay super focused when its study time because you know you have a break coming up! I have found this helps me avoid burnout as well.

Good Luck!

Ellie recommends the following next steps:

Gather everything you need
Remove distractions
Download FocusKeeper
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Sydney’s Answer

Personally, I've found that first make a list and write down all your assignments or what you would need to study for then also write down how long you think each task will take, its better to overestimate than underestimate.
So, once you have that sorted you can work on the schedule.
Then you just have to find the best method. Sometimes, I worked better with friends depending and sometimes I really needed to be alone to focus on my assignments.
Also, before a midterm/final, I would typically rent out a room in the library for an afternoon and go over *every* example and do it on my own to really ensure that I understood concepts I didn't have to fully complete the problem but I was demonstrating knowledge as instead sometimes I would write the methodology for how to solve the problem like the steps I would take.
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Leigh Ann’s Answer

Hi Jessica!

Time Management & Productivity- With school currently being online, it can be very difficult to focus and be productive. One of my tips for success is to use a Time Management/ Pomodoro app, to monitor your progress and time your studying with allotted breaks. Typically I use the Focus To-Do app to allot 40 minutes of study time and a 20 minute break each hour. I like to make a category for each class and project I am working on, and you can use the app to track how many hours you are spending studying/working on each topic.

Studying Tips- I also enjoy using Quizlet for classes that have a lot of terms or memorization. For classes that are more topics focused, I like to type out a study guide in an Outline format, print it out & highlight it as I go over it. If you have a test coming up, take a good week to study by reviewing 1-2 Chapters each day. 1-2 days before the test, you will be able to cover the information again, and pinpoint areas you need to review more.
Also don't be afraid to have a study partner in your class. It can help to reinforce material by explaining concepts and discussing main ideas, when preparing for a test.

Timing- Pick a time of day that works best for you and incorporate that into your routine. Personally, I am a night owl and I enjoy studying at night and completing homework and tasks during the day. Make sure your studying habits reflect when you have the most energy in your day, and that will help motivate you as well.

Leigh Ann recommends the following next steps:

Download Pomodoro App (Time Management) such as Focus To-Do
Find a Study Partner in your class
Use a Quizlet accountor a Study Guide technique to push through course materials
Embrace the time of day you are most productive (morning, afternoon, evening)
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Elizabeth’s Answer

For me, if I found myself not wanting to study, I usually changed locations to give my myself a mindset that I had to study in this new location. This was sometimes as simple as moving from my desk to a chair in a different part of the room. So little things like a tiny change to environment you are working in helps
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