main navigation
my pace
Learning Center

Eliminate Distractions

College studying is filled with distractions: roommates (or family members, if you live at home), television, friends, and music can distract even the best-intentioned students. Students may not realize that these are distractions, but they are. Try to choose and control your studying environment as much as possible, which means creating an environment that is quiet and is suited to concentrated, focused work without interruptions.

  • You may want to find out when you can have your dorm room or apartment all to yourself. Plan your study time accordingly.
  • Explore the library and find a quiet place where you can work so that if you know your room or house will be noisy, you have somewhere familiar you can go. Sometimes empty classrooms are great study spaces!
  • If you are studying chemistry or economics, you may need a quieter environment than if you are reading a novel for literature class.
  • Keep the TV off! Even if you think it's just background noise, it's not. You will, to some degree, be paying attention to the show that's on.
  • Your body is literally part of the environment in which you study, so listen to it and what it needs. If it needs some sleep, take a short nap. If it's hungry, eat a snack.
  • Say no to friends' requests to talk, go out, or help them when you have planned to study.
  • Put a "do not disturb" sign on your door and turn your phone off. Let your answering machine take the call.
  • If you are tempted to play music and find yourself listening to the music rather than paying attention to what you're studying, either turn it off or put on a station that plays music that will become background music.
  • Some students get distracted by noise from the hall or stereo/TV noise from adjoining rooms. Try an electric fan or soft music to help drown out the sounds.