Here’s how students can improve their concentration and retention power

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Dr. Sridhar. G, Founder, Deeksha

Board and competitive exams like JEE, NEET are just around the corner and revisions are under way! During the next few weeks, most students will be spending their time studying and may find it hard to concentrate. Revising certain subjects can feel difficult, particularly when it isn’t one of your favourites. Various other factors, such as exam stress or the fear of bad results could also affect your ability to concentrate. With numerous distractions, it is common to lose focus every few minutes and feel frustrated. This can lead to further stress, which reduces retention power. However, the ability to concentrate well is important for long-lasting memory. Good concentration trains a student’s mind and enhances their learning experience. A calm and still mind is imperative to improve concentration and memory.

Even the toughest topics can be mastered with determination, better concentration, and some unique and effective study techniques. Here are some tips to improve your concentration and make optimum use of your study hours.

Commit yourself to the task: Before you start any task evaluate the time required and efforts to complete it. Be determined to complete the task within the specified time. Plan and schedule your daily activities and try not to let anything interrupt your schedule.

Create a good study environment: A good study environment will allow you to maintain concentration and maximize learning efficiency. Choose a place with proper ventilation, lighting, and minimal distractions where you can study peacefully. Try to keep your study place clean as this will help eradicate any distractions.

Set realistic goals: Set your goals according to your potential and priorities. Having realistic targets keeps you motivated and helps you focus better rather than getting worked up over unrealistic goals. Stick to specific short-term goals and work towards them with a proper study plan. This not only helps you achieve your set targets but also allows you to improve your concentration.

Using mnemonics to help build memory: Mnemonics are memory techniques that help us remember information by associating it to images, sentences, or words. There are many ways you can make mnemonics such as associating a concept to a visual image. You can build acronyms with the first letter of every word of a sentence or make a rhyme of all the words. This will help you retain and recollect a concept or formula with ease.

Meditation and physical exercise: Meditation can help calm your mind and improve your concentration power. Physical exercise relaxes and rejuvenates your body while enabling you to take your mind off things. Physical and mental exercise helps keep stress levels in check.

Get adequate sleep: Sleep improves attention and concentration. Lack of sleep affects your mood, focus, and motivation. Getting adequate sleep by going to bed early helps in better retention of all that is studied. Hence, ensure you sleep at least 7-8 hours every day.

Keep away from social media: The Internet is a tool that has the power to both educate and entertain, if used wisely. The numerous distractions that come from your phone and other electronic gadgets are the biggest barriers to maintaining concentration. Engaging in such activities during your study time might break your focus. Refrain from using any gadgets during your study time except during breaks.

Discuss what you learnt: Have a discussion with your peers on what you learnt that day. This helps you revise the day’s learnings and helps you retain it for a longer period. Peer discussions also help you check your progress and exchange knowledge while offering friendly/healthy competition.

Take Regular Breaks: Taking regular breaks is very critical to enhance learning capacity. Ensure you take a short break after every hour to keep your brain from overworking. Use these short intervals to stretch, listen to a song, or relax for a few minutes. These short breaks will make your study time more efficient and productive.

Always be positive and believe in yourself to achieve excellence in all that you do. Memory retention differs from each person, hence, consider trying different methods to improve your memory and concentration and find what works best for you.

Given the current pandemic and the uncertainties associated with it, students will likely be feeling stressed as their complete study schedule has turned topsy-turvy. As we are all adapting to the circumstances, we must recognise that it is a difficult situation and find ways to keep ourselves motivated and on track with our goals. Students must keep their long-term ambitions in mind and supplement their study efforts with a healthy diet, proper hydration, exercises, and fun activities to break the monotony.

During this time, it is more important than ever for teachers and parents to give unconditional support and positive reinforcement for students who will be writing their exams. Parents can keep their children motivated by introducing fun activities in between their studies, giving them plenty of encouragement and space to express their frustrations and boost their confidence when they feel low. Equip them with ministry-advised health and safety tools and ensure that the exam centre complies with all the health regulations so that the child can write the exam with a clear mind.