Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
Header image University of Groningen Student Blog

How you can improve your focus to ace your assignments and exams

Date:01 November 2023
Hylke trying to focus on her assignment.
Hylke trying to focus on her assignment.

We’ve all been there: sitting at your desk with the motivation to tackle your deadline or to study for your exam, but despite your best efforts you cannot seem to concentrate. In today’s blog, we give you six tips that will help you improve your focus so you can ace your assignments and exams!

#1 Prioritise your sleep

Scientists have found that poor sleep leads to slower thought processes and lower concentration. So, it’s important to get enough high-quality sleep, especially during exam season. Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, even if that means going to bed a little earlier than you normally would. Also, try to stay away from your phone 30 minutes before you go to sleep. That way, you’ll improve your sleep and will be able to concentrate on your tasks the next day!

#2 Remove all distractions

A clean space is a clear mind. So it’s important to remove all distractions from your desk. Only leave the essentials like your study books, notebooks, pencil case, water bottle etc. Also make sure to silence your notifications, or to put your phone away so you don’t get tempted to go on it. This helps me to stay focused for a longer time. 

#3 Don’t multitask

Although doing many tasks at the same time makes us feel productive, it’s not always the best choice and can lead to lower focus. Instead of listening to a podcast or talking to someone while writing your essay, try to focus on one thing at a time. Chances are you’re able to finish your tasks way quicker, which probably makes you feel more productive than if you kept on multitasking.

#4 Take breaks

If your concentration is lacking, take a break! It’s better to take small breaks in between studying than studying for long periods on end with one big break in between. I love to go on short walks to get some fresh air and clear my head. You could also talk to some friends, take a nap, read a book or go to the gym for half an hour. As long as it helps you to take your mind off of things so that you can focus when you get back to studying.

#5 Use the contemplation room at the University Library

If you’re studying at the University Library, you could also use the contemplation room to take a few minutes to refocus. The room is open to anyone and can be used to take a deep breath, meditate, withdraw from your study stress, or something else. It has a sober interior so everyone feels comfortable. You can find the room on the first floor. It’s room 0142 called ‘reflectieruimte’. Try it out!

#6 Follow a course from the Student Service Centre

Following a course offered by the SSC is a good idea if you feel like all the things above don’t work for you. There’s an online Mirro course that is specifically focused on concentration and procrastination, which might be worth checking out. Other than that, you could join one of their (thesis) study support groups. Studying together often helps me focus better, especially on days when I don’t feel like studying. There are lots of options to choose from!

Hopefully, these tips will help you improve your focus. Let us know if you have any other tips you’d like to share. Good luck with completing all your assignments and exams!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


Loading comments...