Learning new material takes a lot of effort on your part. You must concentrate on what you hear and read. This might sound simple, but considering all the responsibilities that college students are balancing, the opportunity to concentrate and to really focus on what you’re learning and studying can be hard to come by. Start by learning to improve your ability to concentrate through what you do and where you do it.

Attending college is a huge responsibility, one you shouldn’t take lightly. It is a lot of work, but it also offers you a lot of opportunities. For most people, college is a pathway to a better, more fulfilling life. As a college-level learner, you may need to change old habits and make room for new habits that will lead you to success. Tough choices are never easy, but they will have a direct, positive impact on your ability to remember and learn the information you will need in the months and years ahead.


Making a few changes in your behavior and in your environment will allow you to concentrate better and remember longer. For example, if you have small children, you need to schedule your study time when they nap. With older children, you can set aside “homework” time for all of you. Studying with others can also help you concentrate, so form or join a study group that meets regularly (e.g., every week, every weekend); the planned study time allows all the study group members to concentrate on the task at hand and keep each other focused. You can use apps such as StudyRoom or Google Hangouts for online group meetings.

With improved concentration, you’ll probably need fewer hours to study because you will be using your time more efficiently. What are you willing to do to make this happen? To find out, work through the exercise in Figure 7.1.

Figure 7.1: FIGURE 7.1 > Choose to Upgrade Your Learning


What did you learn about yourself from answering the questions in Figure 7.1? Think especially about the questions to which you answered “no.” What are you unwilling to change in your life? Your job? Your study habits? Making changes in behavior now will save you a lot of headaches in the future and will show that you can change old patterns to create successful new habits. For the most part, the answers to these questions are under your control. Your success will largely depend on the choices you make.