When you choose to complete a home study course such as CeMAP, it can seem overwhelming when you are presented with all of the learning materials. Many people have initial thoughts like ‘What have I let myself in for?’ and ‘How am I going to learn all of this?’
There are a number of techniques that you can adopt to focus your concentration and get the most out of your study to secure yourself a pass at the end:
Keep yourself hydrated
This will help to prevent you from feeling sluggish. Choose water over caffeine; while caffeine may keep you awake, it may also cause anxiety.
Eat little and often
Eating too much before you sit down to do some studying will put your body into rest mode, and your brain will struggle to concentrate on the task of learning.
Study at an appropriate time
Listen to your body clock and study accordingly. At what time of day are you most alert? Plan the most challenging modules around this time.
Simplify where possible
Only keep what you need to hand. Remove anything else from the desk or table you are working at, as it could cause unnecessary distractions.
Make sure you have a chair that provides sufficient back support. It needs to provide comfort to relax your mind enough so that it completely focuses on the study ahead – without making you so comfortable that you fall asleep!
When you have a day of studying planned, make sure you take regular breaks such as a few minutes every hour. Doing so is known to sustain levels of concentration. If the study material is taking longer to absorb and take on board, you may need to have a longer break from the work and return later, after having something to eat and drink.
Body and mind
Stretch your body to awaken your mind. By understanding how your concentration levels fluctuate during the day, you will get a better grip of the factors that can affect your levels of concentration. When sat still studying, your blood heads towards the bottom of your body, due to gravity.
It is important when taking a break to do some light stretching for a couple of minutes, which will help to release any tension within the body and encourage circulation.
Keep a set structure of study time. This increases the association between a certain time of day and sitting down to read through revision material, building the habit.