How to concentrate on your classwork



A secret!

Here is a SECRET of success at school or college: it is EASIER to do your classwork if you CONCENTRATE on it.

What is concentrating?

CONCENTRATING is when you focus on the task at hand.

When you concentrate, you direct your thinking at what needs to be done.

Concentrating involves AVOIDING DISTRACTIONS over a period of time.


TIPS for concentrating in the classroom:


Sit COMFORTABLY but not too relaxed.


If you can't get started, simply complete a very SMALL task within five minutes. This will help you get going properly.


Once you are into the task and understand what is involved, you can try setting a DEADLINE for completion of a section or the whole lot: this will help you concentrate.


Be clear about exactly what you have to DO. Ask the teacher if necessary.


Be aware of the possible DISTRACTIONS and how to AVOID them.


DISTRACTIONS can be caused by:

To see what you need to do to AVOID distractions, see the boxes on this page.





can distract you

- but here's what you can do:

Mobile phone
- Turn it off.

Email - Don't start replying to emails. Keep your email program turned off to avoid pop-up notifications of new emails.

Music - Sometimes music helps at home, but not if it takes you more than a minute to prepare for it. In the classroom, though, your music is likely to distract others.

Other things - Remove out of sight anything of yours that is distracting you.



can distract you

- but here's what you can do:

- Get enough sleep. Remember that teenagers need more sleep than adults. Avoid late night sessions on the Internet, on the phone, texting or watching DVDs.

Food - Avoid heavy, fatty foods. Avoid sugary foods. Don't eat a lot of food.

Clothes - Avoid clothes that are too tight.

Toilet - Go to the toilet at recess, lunch or other breaks to avoid having to leave class.




can distract you

- but here's what you can do about them:

Your friends - Say to them: "I'm going to concentrate now".

People entering the room - Try not to sit near the doorway of the classroom.

Loud students - Students can be loud or annoying for a variety of reasons:

they may currently have a temporary but very serious personal issue that is affecting their behavior

their vocal chords and the rest of their physical side might have matured considerably faster than their controlling and thinking abilities

they might be developing a selfish personality that needs to be corrected

they might be completely unaware of their effect on others.

Teachers can choose from a range of strategies in dealing with different causes of unwanted behavior by adolescents. If there's a student in your class who makes it difficult for you to concentrate, make sure you let the teacher know about the effect on your concentration, even if it means speaking to the teacher after the lesson. This feedback may well help the teacher in deciding how to deal with the student in subsequent lessons. Your concentration takes priority.

Faster-working students - Never think about giving up on the grounds that you won't catch up to a faster-working student.

Slower-working students - Never think about giving up on the grounds that a slower-working student is doing less work than you.



can distract you

- but here's what you can do:

Forgetting - If you are worried that you might forget to do something, write it down so that you can keep it out of your mind while working.

Serious worries - For more serious worries, such as concern about your relationships with others or a personal issue, remember that schools have people you can see: your class teacher, another trusted teacher, your grade supervisor, school counselor or social worker. You may be able to fix appointments to see these people throughout the day but avoid using lesson time to do the making of the appointments.

If a serious worry is making it hard for you to concentrate, slow down your rate of working rather than give up entirely.


Achieve school or college success easily by concentrating.

To concentrate, you need to deliberately avoid distractions caused by your body, things, other people and worries.

You can avoid those distractions, by being aware of what they are and of what you can do to overcome them. 


If you are finding it difficult to concentrate, first work out which one of the many causes of distractions is the most important in your case. Then decide what you will do to overcome it.

Then one by one eliminate the other causes, too.

You will find that you need to spend less time studying and you will enjoy it more!