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How to Concentrate in Class

Tips for Mastering the Art of Concentration

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Raising Hand in Class
Getty Images | Steve Cole

I get it. Class can get boring and you can get distracted. Your professor is long-winded, your best friend is hilarious, or your cell phone keeps going off. But learning how to concentrate in class is imperative to getting a good grade and (drumroll)…actually learning something. Here are some tips for how to concentrate in class when the distractions seem like too much to handle.

More Study Skills of Successful Students

How to Concentrate in Class

1. Sit Near The Front

The front row isn’t just for the nerds. Sitting in the front of the class will automatically help you concentrate because it takes away any distractions (whisperers, texters, coughers, etc.) in front of you.

2. Participate

The people who have learned how to concentrate know that they need to participate actively in class. Engage the teacher in conversation. Raise your hand for every question. Start a discussion. The more engaged you are with the lecture, the more you’ll want to concentrate on it. So, it’s a way of fooling yourself into concentrating. Trick yourself into getting interested if you’re not.

3. Take Good Notes

Get your pen working to keep your mind focused. Many kinesthetic learners are jittery – their brain doesn’t connect that they are working when they’re just listening. If you’re one of those people, and you can find out here if you are, then move your pen and take good notes during the lecture to help you concentrate.

4. Turn Off Your Phone

If you really need to concentrate, then turn off your phone completely. No cheating by setting it to vibrate. Nothing will jar your concentration more than getting a text from a friend during a lecture.

5. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Hunger can be a big distraction. It’s tough to concentrate when you’d rather be raiding the buffet. Grab some brain food before you head to class in order to get rid of a very obvious distraction.

6. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

For maximum concentration, make sure you’ve slept at least eight hours. I know it’s tough to do, especially in college, but your concentration will be almost gone if you’re fighting fatigue. Get some shut-eye!

7. Reward Yourself

If you really have trouble focusing in class, then reward yourself at the end of class for paying attention. Indulge in your favorite latte, or add five bucks to your “saving for shoes” account. Give yourself something to work for besides your good grade if that hasn’t been enough of a motivator.

8. Get the Jitters Out

If you’re an antsy person – one of those kinesthetic learners – and your teacher isn’t letting you move, then make sure you’ve gotten your energy out before class. Run laps around the library. Take the stairs everywhere you go. Ride your bike to class. Use some of your energy beforehand, so you can concentrate during your class period.

9. Change It Up

If you can feel your ability to concentrate starting to slip, then change something. Get a new pen from your bag. Cross your other leg. Stretch. Tense and flex your muscles. Take a moment to give yourself a brief break from the monotony. You’ll be surprised how well this works to get you back on track.

Read more tips from others who have struggled with concentration.

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