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How to stay focused when revising  


Sarah Marsh - January 20, 2021

Staying focused when revising

You’ve got a mountain of work to get through before tomorrow. And you’ll get round to it, just after one more episode…

Sound familiar? Staying focused on your revision can be tricky, especially at university. Distractions crop up all the time and juggling studies with busy student life is never easy.

There’s no single tried-and-tested tactic for staying focused on your studies. We’re all unique and respond to different methods to help us stay motivated. Some might prefer long hauls in the library, while others might work best in short bursts.

Whatever your style, we’re here to help you stay focused. Check out our study tips and see which one works best for you. 

Find a study buddy

If you’re someone who works well with others, revising with a partner can help you knuckle down and stay focused. If you’re both learning the same material, you can bounce off one another and share ideas.

Plus, if you often find yourself absent-mindedly checking your phone or zoning out without realising, working alongside someone can help you stay in check. Even if this just means jumping on a FaceTime call with a friend, talking things through can help you understand and retain information.

Losing focus happens to all of us, but working with a buddy can make you aware of when it happens.

Use the Pomodoro Technique

An old but classic trick, the Pomodoro Technique could help you stay focused while revising. Following this technique means you revise in short bursts with regular breaks.

The original Pomodoro Technique means setting a timer every 25 minutes, focusing intently on the task, and then taking a short 5-minute break. You can repeat this process 4 times, before taking a longer break and starting again.

This technique works well for students who have shorter attention spans and work best in short but intense bursts.

Step away from social media

What’s stopping you from staying focused? Is it your group chat chatting popping up all the time? Or maybe you can’t tear your eyes away from your Twitter feed?

Whatever it is, it’ll likely still be there once you’ve finished your work. Taking steps like disabling notifications, turning on flight mode, or even asking a pal to guard your phone, are all great ways to avoid social media distractions.

Set yourself realistic goals

A huge stack of revision can be daunting. It can be hard to stay calm and focus on your revision schedule if you’re trying to tackle everything all at once.

Instead, it can be easier to break your workload into manageable chunks. Splitting your revision schedule into smaller bites will help you stay on top of things and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Imagine you’re studying English Literature and you need to revise an entire term’s worth of Shakespeare. Instead of trying to read all of Macbeth in one sitting, it’s much easier to focus on one scene at a time. After you’ve ticked that off your list, you can work through the rest of your workload in simple, achievable steps.

Take proper breaks

If you’re spending all day in the library, you’ll need to take effective breaks in order to stay focused. Getting outside and stretching your legs can help you tackle your work with a fresher mindset. It’s important to take some time away from screens and have a change in environment.

Returning to your revision after a good break means you can absorb more information with a refreshed mind.

Find a learning method that works for you

We all learn best in different ways. For example, you could digest information better by reading, listening, or taking a hands-on approach. This is often called visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learning.

If you’re a visual learner, you could benefit from displaying your revision with diagrams and pictures. Prefer to digest information by listening? Try seeing if you can record your lectures and seminars so you can listen to them back. Or, if you’re a kinesthetic learner, you could experiment by preparing a presentation or quiz.

Depending on how you best learn, here are some study techniques to help you stay focused:

Visual learners

  • Draw diagrams
  • Create mind maps
  • Look at graphics and images
  • Use flashcards

Auditory learners

  • Listen to podcasts
  • Record lectures
  • Record conversations with study partners
  • Memorise a revision rhyme or song

Kinesthetic learners

  • Participate in quizzes
  • Create a presentation
  • Teach others what you know
  • Visit museums

Staying focused when revising certainly isn’t easy, but hopefully, our tips will help. In your student accommodation you will have a desk this is a great environment to study! It’s all about testing different study methods and discovering what works best for you. Once you’ve figured that out, your motivation should improve.

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