Creating a Positive Study Environment

One of the biggest challenges in beginning your study time can be getting all necessary materials together and finding a place where you can concentrate. But if you prepare everything at one time, your next study sessions will be focused totally on studying and will be more effective.

Creating a special place where you can study on a daily basis can help you get your assigned work done faster. Here are a few tips on setting yourself up with an ideal study environment.

Find a good location.
Your first instinct may be to use the kitchen table or your bed, but you may want to think about other options. Kitchens can be noisy, and you may be distracted constantly by family members entering, exiting, or preparing meals or snacks. Being close to the refrigerator and those tempting snacks won't help with your progress either. A bedroom may be full of distractions, such as favorite magazines, music, or television. If you can, find a corner of a guest room or study — or any room that is not a high traffic area — that is quiet, comfortable, and out of the way.

Gather the essentials — and only the essentials.
What will you absolutely need to help you study? Good lighting, a comfortable chair, a good writing surface, writing instruments, reference tools (dictionaries, a thesaurus, and other writing guides), and maybe a stapler and paper supplies. Don't bring in a television, CD player, iPod, etc. If you find it easier to study with music playing in the background, pick soothing music and keep it at a low volume. The phone is a definite no, as are video games, sports equipment, or anything else that can cause distractions.

Set up rules and stick to them.
Decide on a consistent time of the day that you can be in study mode, and use that time every weekday to concentrate on your studies. For most students, one to two hours daily is adequate, but sometimes you may have to study longer. Pick a time when you think your concentration level is best. For example, some students like to study before dinner, others are early risers and find they can concentrate the best in the morning. If you don't have homework on a particular day, use your study time to read ahead on your studies, work on your files, or practice for college entrance exams. Tell all your family members when you will be studying and ask them not to disturb you unless it's absolutely necessary.

Reward yourself for sticking to your schedule.
It can be difficult to start a standard study schedule, but the effort can pay off in better grades and preparation. Your teachers will notice your improvement, as will your parents. After a month of continual good study habits, treat yourself to spending some quality time with friends or doing something you enjoy as self-encouragement.

Good luck!