Studying – What do You Need to be Successful?

College students need to balance a large workload every day.  In order to get through the work as efficiently and effectively as possible it is important to consider where and when are best for you to study and get your assignments done?

The answers to these questions are very individual.  What works for one person, might not work for the next.  It is important that you honor what works for you.

When?

When is the best time for you to study?  For some students, the morning is the time when they are most alert.  Other students operate best later in the day or early evening.  Knowing when you are most alert will help you move through assignments more efficiently and study more effectively. You might need to break-up your “school-work time” into smaller chunks spread throughout the day followed by a “brain break.”

Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • When am I most able to focus on my schoolwork?
  • Do I need to schedule my homework/study time after a meal?
  • Do I need to schedule my homework/study time after I take my medicine (if I choose to take medicine)?
  • Is it best for me to schedule homework/study time after a workout? When can I fit a workout in?

Once you have identified the time of day you are most productive and focused, it is important that you are also able to recognize when you are no longer being productive.  When you find that you are looking at the same page over and over again, it is time for a “brain break.”

Use a timer to check in with yourself every 20 minutes (or what time period works for you) to ensure you are still on track and able to focus on your work.

Creating this “check point” allows you to ask yourself important questions:

  1. Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?
  2. Am I following the directions?
  3. Am I still able to focus on the assignment?
  4. Am I focusing well on the assignment?
  5. Do I need to switch to a different assignment?
  6. Do I need to take a break?
  7. Do I need to switch the environment in which I am trying to work?

Also, set a timer for your “brain breaks,” so time doesn’t slip away from you.

Where?

Where are you able to focus on your work the best?  The environment in which you study and do your work is just as important as when you do the work.  Many students think that their dorm room is a good place to get work done.  Is that true for you?  Often the brain goes into a “relax” mode when a student is in his/her dorm room.  After all, that is where you rest, hang out with friends and go to sleep.

Many students find it helpful to study/work in the library or an area where other students are also focusing on their school work.  Just being around other people engaged in the similar activity sends a signal to the brain that it is time to get to work.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you need your space to be quiet or does background noise help you concentrate?
  • What type of lighting do you like? Bright light vs. low light
  • What temperature keeps you most focused?
  • Can you focus better standing or sitting?
  • Do you need to sit at a table or can you work in a comfortable chair?
  • Do you like being by yourself or do you like other people around?
  • What level of distraction can you tolerate?

There are nooks and crannies all over campus, so get creative and find a place that works best for you.  You might actually need to change locations based on the task or assignment you are trying to accomplish.

Paying attention to when and where you are best able to get your work done will be very beneficial for you.  Don’t worry about when and where other people study, and do their school work. The most important things to consider are what works best for you.

Kristine Shiverick, M.Ed., ACG, CACP is a professionally trained ADHD and Executive Function Coach. Kristine provides coaching to help individuals and families impacted by ADHD learn about the unique wiring of the ADHD brain, discover effective strategies, minimize the challenges of ADHD, and live the life they want to live. Kristine believes in taking a strength-based approach to help her clients grow in all areas of their lives.

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Kristine Shiverick, M.Ed., ACG, CACP is a professionally trained ADHD and Executive Function Coach. Kristine received her B.A. in Severe Special Needs Education and her M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. She received her basic, advanced, and family ADHD coach training through the ADD Coach Academy.  Kristine provides coaching to help students, adults and families impacted by ADHD learn about the unique wiring of the ADHD brain, discover effective strategies, minimize the challenges of ADHD, and live the life they want to live. Kristine believes in taking a strength-based approach to help her clients grow in all areas of their lives. Kristine runs an ADHD parent support group in her local community, and co-facilitated a virtual college support group for ADDA. Kristine is a member of ADDA, ACO, CHADD, and PACC.

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