Problems with studying



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Spem

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I’m currently in 11th grade (Junior in High School) and since last year i’m having this big difficulty to focus and pay attention in the class. Everything seems more interessing than the actual lesson or lecture. Even when i try to pay attention, i soon start thinking in another thing and i end up completly lost about what’s going on.

I have to say that i have no interest in most of my classes, but this difficulty of paying attention happens even in the subjects i like, although it’s a little less often. It’s just too easy for me to get distracted, even when i try to focus.

Even though i can still get good grades, this lack of attention makes me feel bad. I’m friends with most of my teachers, and it’s really boring for us when they ask me something during the classes and i have no idea about what they are talking about.

Does someone here already passed by a situation like that or have some kind of advice?
 

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I know how you feel, trust me, it's the same.

What I can tell you is - and I know this will sound ridiculous - drink water before the class starts and throughout the class and really take notes. You know, instead of looking out of the window or something, listen closely to what the teacher's telling you and make some notes (idk, they might come in handy for exams?), at least that's what I'm doing to keep me 'interested' at least a bit. Taking notes tells my brain "okay, the teacher might say something important any second, so keep focused and listen".
Also, if you have your cell phone with you, put it into your bag instead of your pocket, that'll prevent you from looking at your phone (if you do so anyway).

I don't know if this will help you since it's different from person to person, but you should give it a try.
 

Spem

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I know how you feel, trust me, it's the same.

What I can tell you is - and I know this will sound ridiculous - drink water before the class starts and throughout the class and really take notes. You know, instead of looking out of the window or something, listen closely to what the teacher's telling you and make some notes (idk, they might come in handy for exams?), at least that's what I'm doing to keep me 'interested' at least a bit. Taking notes tells my brain "okay, the teacher might say something important any second, so keep focused and listen".
Also, if you have your cell phone with you, put it into your bag instead of your pocket, that'll prevent you from looking at your phone (if you do so anyway).

I don't know if this will help you since it's different from person to person, but you should give it a try.
I'll try this thing of drink water on classes, i'll only see if it works if i give a try. But taking notes it's more complicated. My teachers usually don't like when students write things during the lectures, even if it's notes about what they're talking about...

Thanks for the reply! :smile:

I know something I've started doing is wearing a rubber band around my wrist, so when my brain starts wandering I can lightly snap it against my skin to get me to focus on what I'm supposed to be studying/paying attention to the teacher.
I was trying something like this, but it didn't helped at all, because i still got distracted for sometime, until remember that I should be doing something lol. If I get distracted, I end up passing a lot of time without noticing it.

Thanks for the reply! :biggrin:
 

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I get this too. Try asking if your teacher can post powerpoints or notes online, or if you can possibly record lectures and listen to them in your car or in your bedroom. I'm a second year college student and I have huge procrastination, so I'm in the same boat as you are. The best thing you can do is simply stay some shade of organized and have your homework in on time. I find that if you do all of the homework at the very least you can understand like 60% of the test questions. The other 40% is cramming, honestly, and you'll never get anywhere unless you find some way to be engaged. It's extremely hard, I know, and it doesn't get better, so make sure to try and stay awake and take notes while you can. Taking notes is definitely your best option if you're wanting to succeed :)

I also get what you mean when you say that you have good grades but feel like they're unearned, and I also get distracted in my favorite classes as well. Ask your professor about it, see what they can help you with. Teachers are usually very well organized and constantly have to write their lesson plans, so they should have plenty of advice to get you organized/ help you with studying, especially if they have a degree in exactly what they're teaching.
 

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See, I always had a hard time focusing in class too when I was younger (like elementary and high school). But when I got to college/university, and I was allowed to bring my laptop with me, I felt so much better because I could take little sneak breaks in-between lectures. So if anything, I'd say take as much learning as you can in (also water, like Muke suggested) and then take a break to just think to ourself (or doodle) but be conscious of your time.
The human brain cannot process that much info at once, which is why we need frequent short breaks to absorb it all.
 

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See, I always had a hard time focusing in class too when I was younger (like elementary and high school). But when I got to college/university, and I was allowed to bring my laptop with me, I felt so much better because I could take little sneak breaks in-between lectures. So if anything, I'd say take as much learning as you can in (also water, like Muke suggested) and then take a break to just think to ourself (or doodle) but be conscious of your time.
The human brain cannot process that much info at once, which is why we need frequent short breaks to absorb it all.
Also, make sure that you drink enough to be hydrated, but not so much that you have to go to the bathroom after every class. I have a huge problem with over-hydrating, just be careful.
 

Kounelli

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I have ADHD and let me tell you, it's not easy trying to pay attention even now as I'm completing my master's degree.
Some things that have helped me throughout high school is to go to tutoring and re-learn the material outside of class. If I never got that one-on-one with the teacher, then I would have failed everything.

DO NOT write down everything the teacher says, you will spend more time trying to write than actually listen. Instead, organize your notes so that you have a section for objectives/goals, keywords, content, and any questions you might have at the end. You might be able to remain on task if you have a sheet to actually fill out, so keep some pre-made ones with the sections I mentioned before. You're only going to remember about 10 minutes of the lecture anyway, the key is to follow-up and ask questions.

Ask yourself before the lesson: "What subject is this" "What am I learning" "What section are we covering today" "Will this be on the test" etc. When you prepare yourself, you are more likely to pay attention. Read the assigned chapters BEFORE the lecture happens. Also, be sure to have a list of questions at the end for yourself and the teacher, even if the teacher already explained it. Getting that personal time with your teacher will be great, because then you have no choice but to have a conversation with them. In a group setting, it's easy to get away with not paying attention, but being by yourself makes you more aware.

Next, make note of what is happening in the classroom that distracts you. Are you daydreaming? Dozing off? Just not caring? Motivation is key to learning, and if you are not motivated then it doesn't happen. As for myself, I have ADHD. My brain is like someone is flipping the channels and I can't control it. My thoughts are distracting and anything that happens in the room can be bothersome. If someone is texting, chatting, etc. then my focus is on that instead of the lecture.

This is why it is important to break down your learning into sections as I mentioned. It's a lot easier to say, "oh okay, I answered this question, I made it to this goal, now let's do the next one" than "Oh my gosh this is so much stuff to pay attention to". Remember, right after a lecture, you must REFLECT ON WHAT YOU LEARNED. Anything that you can't answer goes straight to the teacher in a tutoring session. DO NOT HESITATE to get tutoring. I've known people with straight A's and absolutely no learning disabilities that still went to tutoring in order to keep up. It has nothing to do with how smart you are or how capable, but with how you APPROACH IT. There are different ways of learning and you need to find what works out best for you.
 

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I guess all in all, is that everybody learns differently. Take each of our methods out for a spin, and see which one works best for you.

PS @Kounelli What's your Master's in?
 

Xickin

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Oh wow! That's really interesting! I thought about being a teacher for the longest time, but then I was like "Will I have the patience?" and the answer was "Nope". But I do have a certificate that says I can teach English anywhere around the world.
 

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Try to make it interesting (or fun) so you can study.

Or force yourself to study before going to sleep so you can keep it inside longer.

As studying for like 5 minutes before going to sleep, then going to sleep with make it go into long term memory.
 

Spem

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Thanks for the advices, guys!

@gronodonthegreat My teachers normally don't write notes or use powerpoints, and students can't record lectures, it's a rule of my school.
I don't have much homework, but at least i try to make as soon as possible when i have. It's the best i can do to learn what i should have learned in class if i pay attention.

Taking notes would be good for me, because if I actually do something instead of listen i can focus. But our classroom whiteboard it's in pretty bad conditions, so teachers don't like to use it and end up giving classes that are only lectures. Teachers never like when we write while they're talking. We have to focus on what they're saying, and we should only take notes when the lecture ends, so it doesn't really help.

I'll try to talk with one of my teachers to see if they can help me. This is kind of embarrassing, but it's better than nothing i think.

@Xickin Do you mean taking breaks during the lectures? I don't propely have breaks between classes. Somedays i have class from 7 AM to 6 PM and the only break is during the lunch time and less than five minutes between one teacher get outside the classroom and the other come in and start his lecture.

@Kounelli Sorry, but what is tutoring? It's like classes outside school?
I would say I pass most part of the time daydreaming, but I'm not a motivated student too, as i'm not really interested on go to university and my classes focus on prepare us to universities, so i'm not interesed in most of my classes.
I'll try to organize my notes and copy what is important then, this can help. Thanks for the advice!

@Luxu Yeah, i have this habit of study before going to sleep. It helps with my grades, but not with my problem of being unable to focus.
 

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I have similar problems mainly because school often feels like a joke to me. Like, I stare out of the window, read a book, but when I'm asked a question, I can still answer it. I think it annoys some teachers, too. >:

Whenever I do feel like I need to listen for whatever reason, I try to copy everything that happens on the board, or underline important parts of the text.
 

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I'm exactly the same, I just can't focus for hours, sometimes not at all. For me the solution was to draw, just doodle on my notes or on prints and sometimes even books or my hands, whatever you have. The absolute best way for me to learn is through hearing, so it worked perfectly for me. I do something with my hands to keep my focus, and while it feels like I'm not even paying attention, I'm actually listening all the time and when the questions come up in the test I can remember what I heard, sometimes even word to word.

But I suppose it really depends on how you learn best, based on some tests we had to do at school, I was the only one in the whole group with auditory learning as my strong point so it might not work for everyone. On the plus side I got easily through school with good grades thanks to it, on the down side I've never been good at studying from books, so some subjects were hard because of that. Try to figure out how you learn best, and how you can work with that!
 

Xickin

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@Spem Not actual breaks between classes, just mini-relaxation periods where you drown everything out for a minute and absorb what's been said.
 

Kounelli

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Typically, tutoring is when you go ask the teacher for help outside of normal class time. This can be before school, after school, or even during lunch. It depends on when the teacher is available. Most teachers are able to give some one-on-one help outside of normal instruction, otherwise, you can get tutoring help from a higher achieving classmate.

Not interested in University you say? Are you motivated by employment? Georgetown University did some research and predicted that about 64% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education by 2020. More particularly, the GOOD jobs will require it, and this is mostly in the United States. If you do not have the education and skill to meet the demands of current trends of employment, you will get into quite the fix come graduation of your senior year.

The good thing is, many types of education count as post-secondary. If you have a specific skill that you are interested in, be it automotive, hair & nails, mechanic, etc. you can get away with getting a certificate from a trade-school and begin work immediately. It can be a little pricey though depending where you go. However, the biggest thing is knowing what you want to do and how you want to get there. I'm sure there is something you enjoy doing, and you can use that as a motivator to perform well in school.

Sorry, not to scare you, it's just that I currently work with high school juniors and many of them don't realize how close we are getting to the graduation deadline! Take your ACT's and SAT's, the higher the score you get along with your GPA can earn you merit scholarships for schools around the US! Southern Utah University, for example, is giving FREE TUITION FOR ALL 4 YEARS for students that have a good gpa and test scores that meets their merit based requirements. You have to apply in OCTOBER of your SENIOR year however to get this, you can not get it afterward. It's a good thing to look into, and SHOCKER! Not many teachers or counselors talk about this to their students...tell your friends!
 

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I suppose I was at that point during my life, I still do it every now and then because I have an active imagination. My advice would be you is, "what do you hope to get out of your current situation?? Usually, when I had goal and I figured out the steps I needed to take to reach that goal I accomplished what I set out to achieve. If you find that what you're doing isn't conducive to your end goal you may want to reorganize and do something different. I'll go out and say that after high school, your safety net is vanishing and/or not as large. When it comes to moving forward in your life you'll have to be more dedicated to the small stuff because they added up to the bigger picture. Now, dozing off every now and then happens, I do that now, but do not make it a happen when you're career and evaluations are on the line.

I've been in school pretty much all my life at this point, so I know how you're feeling after a bachelors degree, years of military schooling, and currently working on a masters...
 

Spem

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I have similar problems mainly because school often feels like a joke to me. Like, I stare out of the window, read a book, but when I'm asked a question, I can still answer it. I think it annoys some teachers, too. >:

Whenever I do feel like I need to listen for whatever reason, I try to copy everything that happens on the board, or underline important parts of the text.
I feel the same way. I like my teachers and i know learning it's important, but school sometimes looks so pointless.

I'm exactly the same, I just can't focus for hours, sometimes not at all. For me the solution was to draw, just doodle on my notes or on prints and sometimes even books or my hands, whatever you have. The absolute best way for me to learn is through hearing, so it worked perfectly for me. I do something with my hands to keep my focus, and while it feels like I'm not even paying attention, I'm actually listening all the time and when the questions come up in the test I can remember what I heard, sometimes even word to word.

But I suppose it really depends on how you learn best, based on some tests we had to do at school, I was the only one in the whole group with auditory learning as my strong point so it might not work for everyone. On the plus side I got easily through school with good grades thanks to it, on the down side I've never been good at studying from books, so some subjects were hard because of that. Try to figure out how you learn best, and how you can work with that!
I actually have no problem with learning. I'm used to take some hours before i sleep and study from my books, that works fine for me and i still get good grades despite my lack of attention at classes.
My main concern is that i can't get focus, and i get distracted really easy, even during exams. It's normal for me caughting myself looking at the window instead of doing the exam. lol

Typically, tutoring is when you go ask the teacher for help outside of normal class time. This can be before school, after school, or even during lunch. It depends on when the teacher is available. Most teachers are able to give some one-on-one help outside of normal instruction, otherwise, you can get tutoring help from a higher achieving classmate.

Not interested in University you say? Are you motivated by employment? Georgetown University did some research and predicted that about 64% of jobs will require some form of post-secondary education by 2020. More particularly, the GOOD jobs will require it, and this is mostly in the United States. If you do not have the education and skill to meet the demands of current trends of employment, you will get into quite the fix come graduation of your senior year.

The good thing is, many types of education count as post-secondary. If you have a specific skill that you are interested in, be it automotive, hair & nails, mechanic, etc. you can get away with getting a certificate from a trade-school and begin work immediately. It can be a little pricey though depending where you go. However, the biggest thing is knowing what you want to do and how you want to get there. I'm sure there is something you enjoy doing, and you can use that as a motivator to perform well in school.

Sorry, not to scare you, it's just that I currently work with high school juniors and many of them don't realize how close we are getting to the graduation deadline! Take your ACT's and SAT's, the higher the score you get along with your GPA can earn you merit scholarships for schools around the US! Southern Utah University, for example, is giving FREE TUITION FOR ALL 4 YEARS for students that have a good gpa and test scores that meets their merit based requirements. You have to apply in OCTOBER of your SENIOR year however to get this, you can not get it afterward. It's a good thing to look into, and SHOCKER! Not many teachers or counselors talk about this to their students...tell your friends!
Oh well... I'm not from USA, so i'm not really sure about what SAT's, ACT's and GPA are. They're university entrace exams i guess?


When i said that i wasn't interested in go to an university, i was actually saying that i wasn't interested in get a bachelors degree. Universities in my country only offers this kind of program. I still want to get post-secondary education, but something like a one-year certificate. I don't have idea about what i actually want to do, i'm not really good at any subject, so i'm pretty lost about this.


Universities here don't care about merit or how well you did at school. We do one test when we are finishing high school, and the score of this test is the only thing that universities will see when you applicate. You may have been the worst student of your class and passed all high school years just fooling around, but if you get a high score at this test, you still can enter in the best universities. Find motivation at school it's not easy, because doing well will not really be important.

I suppose I was at that point during my life, I still do it every now and then because I have an active imagination. My advice would be you is, "what do you hope to get out of your current situation?? Usually, when I had goal and I figured out the steps I needed to take to reach that goal I accomplished what I set out to achieve. If you find that what you're doing isn't conducive to your end goal you may want to reorganize and do something different. I'll go out and say that after high school, your safety net is vanishing and/or not as large. When it comes to moving forward in your life you'll have to be more dedicated to the small stuff because they added up to the bigger picture. Now, dozing off every now and then happens, I do that now, but do not make it a happen when you're career and evaluations are on the line.

I've been in school pretty much all my life at this point, so I know how you're feeling after a bachelors degree, years of military schooling, and currently working on a masters...
Get distracted it's not really something voluntary, it just happens. Right now, I don't really have a goal that i can work for. It's more like "I'll finish High School and then do a short post-secondary program in something i at least don't hate.", so i'm just leading life day by day.
 

Kounelli

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Oh well, hopefully if any Juniors from American schools see my post they will find it interesting xD

What country do you live in? Is there a profession that is popular there that you would be able to excel in?
 
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