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Top ways to stay focused in class

October 4, 2017 By Sara Griswold

With classes in full swing, we have teamed up with the Greater University Tutoring Service (GUTS) to come up with a list of ways to stay focused in class throughout the semester.

Eat Breakfast

It’s a cliche but true: It’s the most important meal of the day. Whether it’s a bowl of oatmeal, eggs or peanut butter toast, it will help you to stay focused and feel good all day long. It will also help to improve your memory.

Use Pocket Points

Pocket Points is a mobile application that gives students rewards for not using their phone during class. Download the app, open it while in class and points will be gained when your phone remains locked during class. The longer you go without unlocking your phone, the more points you will earn. You are then able to use the points at local and online businesses for discounts, coupons or gifts.

Move around

Moving around a bit will help to wake up your body. If you find yourself falling asleep or not being able to stay focused, excuse yourself to use the restroom or fill up your water bottle.

Take notes

Students listen and take notes in class. Photo: Bryce Richter

Study Skills Coordinator Katherine O’Brien recommends, “Don’t take notes on your computer.” You will avoid lots of distractions with social media. Use a notebook and a pen, or if the professor uploads a PowerPoint prior to class, print it out and follow along that way to avoid writing down exactly what’s on the slides. If you change up the colors you are writing with, it will help you to stay engaged longer.

Make a friend

If you know someone in the lecture or make a friend to sit by, you will be able to talk with them about the material during the downtime in lecture. You will be more likely to pay attention and not space out.

Bring a snack

Nothing is worse than your stomach growling in class. If you have something to eat during class your body will be more alert.

Get sleep

Avoid staying up too late before a day full of classes. Pulling all-nighters is not healthy for you and you will feel useless in class the next day. Have a routine sleep schedule throughout the week and stick with it.

Sit close to the front

Photo: Keith Woodward teaching class

Assistant professor Keith Woodward speaks with students in his Geography 101 course in Science Hall. Photo: Bryce Richter

Study Skills Coordinator Lauren Davidson suggests, “Sit in the same spot everyday and sit near the front.” If you sit where the professor can see you, you are less likely to nod off. Whereas if you feel like you are one in the crowd and won’t be noticed, you are more likely to fall asleep.

Drink caffeine

Stop at a Badger Market on the way to class to pick up a glass of coffee for your early morning classes. This will help you to stay awake and give you energy to learn.

Visit the GUTS website to learn more about the workshops they offer on study skills, on topics such as organization or procrastination. Or set up a one-on-one appointment to discuss any personal academic issue.

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