If you need to study for the GED or another big test coming up, you know you need to hit the books and get studying. One of the best ways to study successfully and effectively is by setting the right study environment. The perfect study environment will look different for every student, but there are several studying tips that will help you set yourself up for test-taking success by choosing the right place, space, and background.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to study more effectively, try these tips for creating the best study environment.
1. Choose the Right Space
In addition to how you study, where you study can make a big difference in how effective you are at learning and reviewing the material. It’s best to study at a desk or table where you can spread out your notes, books, worksheets, and computer, with access to outlets and the internet. Ideally, you won’t be interrupted by pets, children, or well-meaning family and roommates.
For many people, this place is at a home office, bedroom desk, or even kitchen table. Others don’t have dedicated study space at home and need to go to a school or public library to concentrate. If you can, avoid studying in bed or on a couch or armchair, where you may find it hard to focus or feel comfortable enough to drift off.
2. Remove Distractions
You won’t get any quality study done, especially on subjects you don’t particularly enjoy, if you’re surrounded by distractions. What distracts you from studying? Some people are tempted by “productive procrastinating”—i.e., organizing your sock drawer, folding your laundry, cleaning the kitchen, making your bed, etc., instead of studying. Other people are distracted by social media. Sometimes food is a distraction if you aren’t actually hungry. Other times, you may be distracted by a roommate, family member, or friend. Removing these and other distractions, or removing yourself from them, will help you focus.
3. Bring the Snacks
One of the most important tips for studying is to take care of your physical needs. It’s normal to get hungry while you’re studying, so plan ahead: Bring several healthy snacks along so you don’t need to leave your desk to rummage around and search for something. It’s ok to take a break to eat, but leaving to buy food or hunt down sustenance can waste time. Choose healthy snacks, and make sure to have plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid tension headaches.
4. Find Good Lighting
Studying and reading will strain your eyes if you don’t have adequate lighting. Set yourself up with a desk lamp to illuminate your notes or study by a window for natural lighting. Looking outside periodically during your study session can also give your mind and eyes a break.
5. Balance Background Sounds
One key aspect of how to study is finding the right background noise. Many people prefer complete silence. Others find silence distracting and like the gentle background noise of a public library or coffee shop. You might like to put in your headphones and listen to white noise tracks or classical music. Or what you prefer to listen to may change based on your mood and what you’re studying. With some trial and error, you can decide the perfect sound for your study environment. However, keep in mind that you won’t be able to control the sound on test day and most likely won’t have the option to have music playing, so consider conditioning yourself to quiet studying.
These studying tips can get you started on creating the perfect study environment for you. Studying isn’t fun, but it is essential preparation for tests like the GED that can open the door to a bright future.