Did you flunk your last midterm? Could you have done better on your last research paper? If so, you may want to look at how you’ve set up your study space, or if you’ve even set one up at all. If you study on the couch, spread your books out on the floor or find yourself easily distracted when you’re at your desk, the first thing you need to do is set up a more effective study space. Here are five ways to do just that:
1.Find a Location
Not everyone studies the same, and not every person utilizes the same space in the same manner. Decide where it is that you will be able to study with the least amount of distraction. For some people, this spot can be found in their bedroom. For others, it may be the home office. No matter where it is, your area should be relatively quiet, free from kids, roommates or spouses knocking on the door ever five minutes and easy to organize.
2.Gather What You’ll Need
What is it that you’ll need to complete your assignments and study for exams? For many people, a desk or a comfortable chair, a computer or tablet and various school supplies fit the bill. Figure out what it is that you’ll need and gather all of your furniture and materials. If you need basic supplies, head to your local Staples or Office Max at the end of summer when they have back-to-school sales; you can get a cart full of supplies without spending tons of money.
3.Organize What You Have
Once you’ve found your location and gathered your materials, get everything organized. Put things together in a way that makes sense to you, not in a way that makes sense to anyone else. Make sure that you have whatever you need close at hand. You’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of light to study by and you may even want to install a mini-fridge. Do whatever it is that you need to do to limit distractions and excuses to walk away from your studies.
4.Know When It’s Too Quiet
For many people, total quiet is too quiet. In fact, some people, in their quest to eliminate all distraction, make their study space absolutely silent which can become distracting itself. You may want to consider putting a radio on your desk, turning a fan on towards the wall or even playing repeats of your favorite Law & Order episodes in the background.
5.Make It Personal
You don’t want your study space to be so comfortable that it makes you sleepy, but you don’t want your space to be so sterile that it lacks any personality. Set a few favorite pictures on your desk, hang a couple prints on the wall and add splashes of your favorite color around the room. Make your study space a place that you enjoy being in or you’ll do whatever you can do to get out.
If you find that you spend more time trying not to study than you plan actually studying, your space may be to blame. Follow the five tips above to design a study space that is both comfortable and effective; you might be surprised at the difference it makes on your next exam.
Janet Rivas writes for education sites. Several schools offer masters in communication degrees.