For high-quality preparation for classes and effective work during practical sessions, retention of auditory material, students need to have high capacity for work, concentration, attention span and ability to switch attention quickly.
If student isn’t able to concentrate, retention of auditory material will be extremely low, therefore, it is necessary to follow a number of practical tips to improve concentration and therefore performance.
1. Organize your thoughts. Concentration requires not only external, but also internal peace. Before proceeding directly to the study, you should relax and organize your thoughts. You should throw away all your thoughts about other responsibilities, and mentally aim what you have to do. Then, think about the way how you can achieve your goals and requirements. Then get to work.
2. Focus on one thing. Many people prefer to do several things at the same time. For example, they talk to someone on a mobile phone, while typing on a computer the text of a presentation, an abstract or reading a textbook. What happens to the brain? As a result at least one of the tasks cannot be completed properly or brought to an end, because the brain does not have time to acquire such amount of information and process it. We can improve the quality of our attention if we do only one thing. After all, concentration is keeping your attention on one object, and not spraying it into several. You can fully concentrate only when you are doing one thing.
3. Plan. Concentration means focusing on only one object, process or activity. This will help you to draw up a plan in order to organize all the tasks and responsibilities which have to be completed. This can be a plan for a day, a week, or a whole month. Only after completing one task, you can proceed to the other.
4. Create so-called “glass cover”. Noise and various irritants surrounding us interfere with concentration. Working under a “glass cover” means isolating yourself from all sources of noise and irritants. But in our modern world it is very difficult to find a place where absolutely nothing would interfere with concentrated work. Try to find a more or less quiet place to work for a few hours, such as a self-study room in a dormitory, for example.
5. Train your memory. The better our memory is developed, the better we operate with information, so that we can better concentrate while working. Due to well-developed memory, you won’t spend much time and effort searching for information. Each step towards improving memory is also a step in developing the ability to concentrate.
6. Motivate yourself. If the task is interesting, then we easily cope with it. The situation is rather different with tasks that we don’t like or in which we don’t see any point. We need to stimulate ourselves to do these things. As a matter of fact, to see positive things in the task that you don't want to do, but you have to do, means motivation. Try to find advantages and benefits for yourself in any task.
7. Get to work immediately. Appetite comes with eating. We often get interested with the task only after we begin fulfilling this task. In order to motivate yourself and maintain concentration, you need to change your approach. The first step is the hardest part, and interest will come later. Therefore, get down to doing something you are not interested in as soon as possible, without delay.
8. Make tasks more difficult. Lack of interest reduces the ability to concentrate. But how can you get interested in the task that seems boring and not exciting to us? Try the following method: try to find special aims for yourself in the task that would give you motivation and interest. If, for example, you are doing the same task every day, then try to spend 20% less time on it than usual.
9. Avoid overwork. How many tasks do you take on a day, and how many of them do you complete? The more tasks we have to complete, the more chances of getting stressed. A huge amount of stress impedes the free flow of our energy and weakens our ability to concentrate. Plan your day carefully, put on your daylist only those tasks you will definitely accomplish.
10. Make your workplace comfortable and business-like. When the workplace is convenient for us, then our ability to work and concentrate increases. The work environment plays a decisive role. The more it meets the requirements of our body, the better we work and the less we get tired, which means better concentration. Pay attention to the correct chair height, your posture at the desk, the lighting, and the distance between your monitor screen and your eyes. Adequate lighting, a comfortable chair and a favorable room temperature promote concentration.
As part of the educational hour “Psychological foundations of preparation for classes”, students of the Dental Faculty (group No. 7301) passed a test to estimate efficiency, which determines the ability to follow instructions clearly and quickly and evaluates the state of attention. Then the participants were familiarized with practical advices on improving concentration and academic performance.
Practical advices were prepared on the basis of the following site materials http://www.elitarium.ru/uluchshenie-koncentracii-vnimanie-rabota-problema-cel-zadacha-vremya-sposobnost-razvitie-pamyati-rabotosposobnost-poryadok/
Author: Deputy Head for Educational Work of the Department of Pathological Physiology, Senior Lecturer Elena N. Chepeleva
Photo from the BSMU archive
Translation: Varvara Boika