Tips for maintaining focus during class:
- Take care of yourself
- Sit near the front of the room to eliminate distractions
- Lay a foundation for learning
- Ask questions and participate in class discussions
- Take good notes
Take care of yourself.
- Eat healthy foods to boost your immune system and to ensure that your brain is functioning at its maximum capacity. It’s difficult to stay focused when you’re hungry. If you find it difficult to make healthy food choices on campus, or if you need strategies to keep your immune system functioning at an optimal level, visit the Student Health Center for resources on healthy eating and overall wellness.
- Exercise regularly to increase oxygen flow to your brain. An oxygenated brain helps you to remain focused and to process new information. Like eating healthy foods, regular exercise also boosts your immune system and can prevent you from missing class due to illness. The Campus Recreation Center provides a number of fun options, from group exercise to personal trainers, to get you moving.
- Get enough sleep. Did you know that the typical college-aged person needs 9 hours of sleep per night? Lack of sleep can negatively affect your ability to focus on what’s being said in class and to remember information you’ve heard or read. For more information about the importance of sleep, the consequences of not getting enough sleep, and strategies for getting more sleep, view this presentation on “Sleep and College Life” from the sleep experts at WestCare Sleep Disorders Center. If you are following the Healthy Sleep Tips provided in this presentation, but you’re still unable to sleep, contact Counseling and Psychological Services to learn about relaxation techniques and other strategies that may help.
Sit near the front of the room to eliminate distractions caused by people sitting in front of you.
Have you ever found yourself in a class, unable to avert your eyes from the classmate who is passed out on his desk and drooling on the cover of his Chemistry book? Or maybe you've become enthralled in the game of solitaire on the student's laptop in the next row over. When you sit in the tenth row from the front of the room, you expose yourself to nine rows of people who are likely to distract you during the lecture. Sit near the front of the room to eliminate unnecessary distractions and to increase the likelihood that your professor will notice and appreciate your attention.
Lay a foundation for learning.
- If your professor’s lectures follow the assigned readings for the course, complete reading assignments before the topics are covered in class. This will lay a foundation for processing and understanding the current lecture. Visit our reading strategies page for tips on improving your reading skills.
- Read over your lecture notes from the previous class so you can make connections between old and new material.
Ask questions and participate in discussions.
Most people begin to learn and to remember information only after they’ve had an opportunity to talk about it. Class discussions are your first opportunity to formulate your understanding of new information by talking about it with your professor and your peers. If you don’t understand a concept covered in class, ask your professor to clarify, to provide an example, or to elaborate; then check your understanding by paraphrasing what was said.
Take good notes!
Even if you know that you are able to listen and retain information easily, taking notes will prevent your mind from wandering during class and will provide you with a useful written record to refer to when studying.