10 Tips for High School Students to Stay Focused while Studying

The new school year has just begun and studying is back in every student’s life. How do learners get back into class when the holidays have taken their focus off the routine of classrooms and studies? It takes a concerted effort at the beginning of the year. Students in high school have moved up a grade and there are new challenges to face.

Here are some tips to help students stay focused.

1. Start the year with a study plan.

When you are organised and have a plan of action you have a reason to be focused. Your plan should include your timetable and routine at school. Planning means you will know where to be at the right time. You will also know what to prepare for the lessons. Planning tells you where your different classes are on the school campus. This gets you to focus from the start. In your plan aim to sit nearer to the front where you will be able to pay attention to the teacher.

2. Have some goals.

Set out some short and long term goals for yourself. These goals need to be specific and manageable. A goal like ‘pass at the end of the year,’ is not going to get you to focus in the short term. Set up realistic goals with a specific time frame. Have personal goals ,as well as academic goals. When you have a purpose then focusing is more relevant for you.

3. Organise a study group.

When you are accountable to others in your peer group, being focused is part of the commitment you make to one another. You can keep a friendly eye on the members of your group. Getting together after class, or having a buddy system with someone who is like minded, is a good way to keep focused on your work.

4. Keep well nourished and hydrated.

It is very difficult to focus if you are hungry or your body is dehydrated. Make sure you have healthy snacks and water available during your school and study times. Most schools have breaks and use this opportunity to get fresh air, eat your healthy snack and drink water. Exercise is important too. Stretch and take a walk around the playground if you are able, during your break time.

5. Make your own notes.

The act of taking down some notes helps you stay focused. Noting down the main points or highlighting study guides are ways to help you keep your mind on the subject you are learning about. If you want to ‘mind’ map during the lesson this is an alternative way to keep focused on what the teacher is saying. At the end of the lesson you will have recorded some of the content and important points. Note taking keeps you focused.

6. Get involved in the discussion topics.

Think of valid questions to ask at the end of the lesson. This keeps you involved in the discussion. When you think of how to actively participate in discussions you will stay focused. Joining the oral aspect of the topic through discussion is a vital way to stay interested and focused. The simple act of listening to other voices helps to break the monotony of listening to one voice for any length of time. Asking valid questions shows you are interested in the topic.

7. Look out for medical reasons that may be hindering your concentration.

Check there are no underlying medical reasons for your lack of focus. Is there an impaired vision or poor hearing condition that makes it difficult to concentrate. If you feel sleepy all the time go to your doctor for a check-up and find out why you lack the energy to focus.

8. Make sure you have regular sleep patterns.

During the school term your sleep habits are very important. Children who do not get a good night’s sleep battle to focus during the day. The more you learn the more important your sleep time is. High school adolescents are recommended to have 8 to 10 hours a day of sleep time per day.

9. Stress can affect your ability to focus.

Making new friends, being a new student, and adjusting to the new syllabus can bring on stress. If you are overly stressed your brain finds it difficult to focus on the work. Stress affects the brain’s short term memory in particular. Try to find ways to manage stress. Deep breathing exercises are helpful and remembering to talk about the situations that you feel are stressful. A problem shared is a problem halved.

10. Get rid of any distractions.

Distractions are more prevalent in today’s world of technology that ever before. Children are easily distracted by their electronic devices if they are allowed to have these items. Mobile phones, and hand-held games are the biggest problem.

High school students will find themselves easily distracted by noise levels. If you have a well ordered classroom with respect for the teacher and one another then a balanced work and learning environment enables you and the other students to concentrate and focus on their learning.

Venus Williams, former number one world tennis champion, had this to say about being an all star winner and at the top of her game.

“I don’t focus on what I am up against.
I focus on my goals and I try to ignore the rest.”

High school students, take these tips to heart, and focus on your goals for 2023.


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