Where you study can be as important as when you study and
who you study with. I never realized this until recently when I attended a
study skills workshop led by a behavioral psychologist who enlightened me to
the importance of the actual location of study time.
Apparently, our bodies take subconscious cues from our
environment that can affect focus, attention and even hormone secretion. These
are factors that we can get working for us with little effort if we know how to
harness them. And I'm all about little things that mean a lot. Little effort,
By going to a designated study area that is a "sacred grove"
of studying, you can condition yourself to maximize your time and focus and retain
material more efficiently. Naturally, you will need to personalize and perhaps
alter some of the following steps to make this happen for you.
STEP 1: Find a
location where you will only study and not perform any other activities. So
it's best if it's not your bedroom or your kitchen table. You want a special
place that the only task you participate in there is schoolwork. You may have a
favorite study carrel or corner table in the library - make this your study
home. You can branch out to secondary
locations later, if desired, once you have mastered "getting in the zone."
STEP 2: This is
an important step! Get down to work in your designated study spot. Do not
"pollute" your study place by checking Facebook, email, texting or chatting
with friends. Make your study grove a place that you focus and stay on task. Schedule
your study time here. Designate 45 minutes to pharmacology, then take a 10
minute break and then do 45 minutes of say, pathophysiology. Your time will be
used effectively when you stay on task.
STEP 3: This is
the rinse and repeat step. Return repeatedly to your study spot or spots.
Though it is best to have one or two places to study, sometimes circumstances
dictate that we have three or more. But go to this place each time and get to
work. (Though if your favorite library table is taken, you will have to select
another place or risk an unpleasant confrontation!) Soon, your brain will be
conditioned by the sights, sounds and smells of your chosen location and be
ready to focus on learning as soon as you sit down.
Once you have mastered the above steps, you can train yourself
to put your mind into study mode in other locations as needed. So you can train yourself to do flashcards on
the bus effectively once you have conditioned yourself.
I have found that I do not study well at the library at the
college where I attend PA school, though we have a beautiful library that is
airy and inviting. I discovered through trial and error that seeing my fellow
classmates working on other material around me makes me anxious. And anxiety
hinders learning. So I have a favorite table at a small public library down the
block and a favored weekend study place at another nearby small local college.
This also eliminates the possibility of too much chatting with fellow students
taking up valuable study time.
So go find your own unique study area, make it specific for
studying and maximize your brainpower!