Improving Concentration

Some college students may have difficulty concentrating and maintaining focus, especially during lectures and while reading. The average attention span is between 20-90 minutes, varying greatly depending on the person's interest and complexity of material. There are, however, techniques to improve focus and concentration.

The following strategies help students maintain focus:

  • Spend forty-five minutes to an hour studying one subject, and then take a short break. Getting a drink of water, and walking around a little will stimulate better blood circulation to your brain.
  • Set goals to give yourself something to work for. Reward yourself with a study break or a special treat when you reach your goal.
  • Start a reading assignment by previewing the chapter. Skim paragraph headings, pictures, charts, and graphs, as well as the introduction and summary.
  • To avoid "eye glide" (looking at the page without taking in the contents) close your eyes or the book at the end of each section and mentally recap what you just learned. If you aren't able to do so, go back and re-read.
  • Adjust your reading speed or read out loud.
  • Take deep breaths, using your diaphragm instead of your chest. This allows more oxygen to get to your brain, increasing concentration and learning. (This is also works during class.)