Counseling & Guidance » CONCENTRATION: Strategies and Skills

CONCENTRATION: Strategies and Skills

It takes a lot of concentration to put your game plan into action!
Physical conditioning
  • Eat balanced snacks 
  • Exercise every day 
  • Get plenty of sleep
Visualize success. Think neat and complete.
  • Don't rush
  • Write clearly and accurately
Do the hard stuff first. Use problem-solving techniques.
  • Understand what you're supposed to do.
  • Re-read all the instructions. 
  • Review class notes 
  • Say the problem out loud.
  • Ask for help
Mental conditioning
  • Acronyms. Rhyming. Association. Repetition

Lack of concentration can hurt your grades in many other areas of school besides reading. Is your mind wandering during class discussions - or worse yet, quizzes or tests?

It takes a lot of concentration to put your game plan into action. And doing better in school calls for some good strategic thinking.
The first step in improving concentration is getting in shape - and that means your mind and your body. With the right balance of mental and physical conditioning, you can perform at your best.
Physical Conditioning
Let's look at the physical side first. Nutritious food, regular exercise and plenty of rest keep your body (and your brain!) in top shape.

Don't skip meals. Always eat breakfast, even it it's just toast or fruit. It's important to eat something. How can you do your best in class with an empty stomach and a brain that's low on fuel?

Don't depend on sugar-loaded candy and soft drinks (refined carbohydrates) for energy when you're tired. Switch to fruits, vegetables and whole grains (natural carbohydrates) for snacks and meals.

Get some exercise every day. It relieves stress and makes your body function better...including your brain!

Get plenty of sleep. If you're sleepy in class, how much will you hear or remember? Plan to do your homework so you can get to bed early and feel rested in the morning.
Mind Over Matter
Positive thinking is a big part of conditioning too.

Keep your spirits up. Be enthusiastic.

Practice seeing yourself turning in homework on time. Picture yourself passing a test or working an algebra problem with ease. See yourself winning that scholarship or award. Believe you can make the grade
Think Neat and Complete
Don't sabotage yourself by being careless or sloppy! Rushing can cost you a penalty you'll regret.

Write clearly. A neatly written essay test usually gets a higher grade than the same test writtensloppily. Avoid messy cross-outs, margin scribbles, etc.

Write numbers accurately and plainly in subjects like math. Line up columns when you copy a problem so you'll get the right answer and your teacher can see it without having to guess
Try These Problem-Solving Techniques
Be sure you understand what you're supposed to do. (Here's where writing your assignments can really pay off.)

Re-read all instructions in your Assignment Log.

Review class notes. Your teacher may have given you the formula or example you need to solve the problem.

Say the problem out loud. Hearing and seeing a question or problem often helps clear the way to a solution. Try working the problem backward. Sometimes it helps to go back over every step [of a problem]. See if you left something out.

Ask a parent or a study buddy for help if you still can't solve the problem. Call a homework hotline if one's available.