Whether you’re about to take a hard final exam, or are studying for your first insurance designation exam, knowing what to study, how to study, and how to concentrate on what you’re studying is important. Here are my top 5 tips on how to improve your study and concentration skills.
1. Increase the number of absorption methods.
Several studies have shown that retention of information increases when you use more than one type of absorption method. For example, if you’re reading through a textbook, don’t simply read through it and then put it down. Instead, read it, take notes on the important information, and then verbally recite your notes so you can hear yourself saying them. Right there, you have four absorption methods: reading, writing, speaking, and hearing. If you’re taking notes in class, go back the next day and reorganize the notes into an easier to read format, while saying some of the important information out loud.
2. Understand your preferred
Okay, this one seems simple, but a lot of people don’t actually take the time to follow through with it. If you’re distracted easily, your preferred environment most likely is not a crowded Starbucks. Do some self-evaluation to know yourself well enough to understand what environment will help you stay focused on the task at hand.
3. Write it down.
One of the most annoying things that happen to me when I’m studying is having a random thought pop into my mind that won’t go away. This can happen several times a study session. One of the best ways to get these thoughts out of your mind is to write them down. This enables your mind to let go of that thought, and focus more on the task at hand.
4. Teach it.
One of the best study methods for a subject or material is to teach the information to someone else. Compare the current material with other information you’ve learned in previous classes or encounters and learn it well enough to be able to explain it to someone else. When you have to teach something, you learn it in much more depth.
As in everything, you won’t get better unless you practice. Studying well and concentrating takes hard work, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get it right away. Take a few minutes each day where you focus on improving your concentration.