Study Tip: How to Create a Good Study Environment

We’ve talked about the how to avoid study distractions, we’ve talked about randomly helpful items to help you study , but now it’s time to talk about how you can put all of those things together and produce a great study environment. No student is in a good position to study if the surrounding atmosphere isn’t conducive to such productivity. Before you gather your books and attempt to cram that information into your brain, you need to make sure you are placed in a good setting, whether it's somewhere for a solo study session, meeting with your SAT tutor, or taking an ACT practice test.

The number one rule when it comes to creating study environments? Don’t go by what anyone else does. Everybody’s brains are vastly different and therefore excel under different types of circumstances. Joining your roommate at Starbucks may seem fun and beneficial to your workload, but is it? Do the subtle conversations and noisy blenders really comfort you like they comfort that friend of yours? They might. But if they don’t, just the fact that you’re with your supportive friend isn’t going to be enough to bring the good studying out of you. Never completely rely on another person’s ideas for study environments, no matter who they are. It is up to you and you only to choose what surrounding details make you study well.

Not sure what exactly constitutes your perfect study environment? Below are some ideas to give thought to: 

Noise level: Complete silence, constant sounds, or somewhere in between? The silence can freak some people out while others find it vital for focused studying. Just as well, some students hate noise during this time while others find it reassuring. Whether all of this refers to nearby people talking, buses that often drive by, or a smoothie machine mixing away, you need to figure out how they’ll factor into your brain’s train of thought. They might throw it off or they might encourage it to work harder – it’s up to you to see which direction you typically go in.

Seating/Tables: Do you need lounge chairs and incredibly cushy couches when studying? Or does that just distract you more? Don’t use seating that will send you into a study coma or day-dreaming session. If those comfortable arrangements will prevent you from being productive, find a place with ordinary, hard chairs that will force you to sit up straight. Tables are the next item to cover; don’t get trapped in an area with very little table space to align your study materials. That is a category of frustration that nobody has time for. For instance, some cafés have extremely tiny tables that are great for setting down your coffee, but that’s about it. Consider a sturdy desk or lengthy library table if you’re going to be spreading out a lot of notes to look over. 

Amount of people around: Think about the constant actions of adjacent strangers and how they make you feel when studying. That kind of situation may sidetrack you on very high levels, or it might make you feel relaxed – again, everyone is different. Also, you could be in a place where these other people are studying, which could help you stay motivated, or you could be somewhere where these people are just hanging out and not working, which could frequently divert your attention. Determine how surrounding people affect your study process and go from there. You might find that you need total isolation to focus 

Computer-friendliness: Often times you need your laptop with you to study, so it’s always a good idea to make sure your study space is conducive to that. You don’t want to end up in a situation where there’s basically no room for your computer to sit other than on your lap. Even worse, being stuck at a place with little to no outlets around can leave you in quite the compromising position if you run low on battery power – you certainly don’t want to have to end your study session abruptly against your will. Additionally, make sure to find a place that is not messy; for instance, you don’t want to sit your computer on a dirty table that is rarely cleaned off. Don’t set it up on a constrained space where a nearby drink could spill onto it either!

Location: Is this place right by where you live? Is it a time-consuming drive away? Is it close to a coffee supplier? These are all good things to think about when choosing the study spot of choice. Perhaps you are creating this environment in your home, but even then you should consider how close you are to food, television, or anything else you might want on a much-needed break – or not want near you at all. Some students find it helpful to be nearby their home so they can easily return to comfort if they get restless and frustrated. Others purposely situate themselves far from their places of residence in order to ensure they will stay put in the study zone. Ultimately, think about the things you want near you when you study and the things you want to be a great distance from you. Pick your locale accordingly.

With these standards in mind, you should have a much easier time preparing for those exams. Find this perfect spot and get going!