Much study time is wasted by distractions, whether that is talking to friends, playing computer games or watching TV.  Think about your last study period.   How long did you try to study (time from beginning to end) and how much of that time was actually spent studying?  If there is a big discrepancy in your response to these two questions, you may wish to explore another study location with fewer distractions.  The result may be that it actually takes you less time to accomplish the same amount of work because you are able to stay focused in that environment more easily.

Another source of distractions may be personal concerns, which can be more difficult to control.  If you find that this is your greatest study distraction, you may wish to talk with a counselor on your campus/school or to your parents  to try to find ways to reduce or resolve your personal concerns.

Conditions (i.e. chair, desk/table, lighting, and temperature) are conducive to studying :

The chair used for studying should be comfortable enough that you can sit for 45 – 50 minutes at a time.  Sitting at a desk or table that provides adequate space for your materials to be spread out is important.  The lighting in the room should not cause eye strain and the temperature should be comfortably cool.

Materials at hand :

It’s important to make sure you have everything you will need for a particular study session present when you begin.  If you’re going outside your room to study, think through what you will need to accomplish your study goals and take it with you.

Develop realistic goals for the study session:

Having a specific, realistic goal for all study sessions is essential.  Expecting to accomplish too much in the time you have leads to discouragement.  Setting and achieving goals leads to a sense of accomplishment.  This is also critical for reducing stress and meeting deadlines.  Underestimating how long a task will take is likely to result in having less time to do another task, which causes stress.

Decide the order in which you will complete your tasks:

This makes your study plan more specific.  It’s generally best to begin with difficult or boring subjects.  Your ability to concentrate will be highest when you begin studying and the task is more likely to take less time if you are at your best when you’re doing it.   It’s easier to find the motivation to do things you like to do, even when you are tired or have less energy.

Have a reward planned for yourself when you finish your study session:

Planning to reward yourself when you have finished your study session can be very effective for helping you accomplish the tasks you need to do, but only if you use restraint and don’t allow yourself the reward until you’ve finished your studying for the day.  Rewards might be things like watching your favorite TV show, talking with a friend, going to a movie, or anything else you enjoy doing.  Make a list of the things you could use as rewards so you don’t have to spend time thinking about your reward each day when you are planning your study period.