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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: I cannot maintain concentration when I study.

 MCovington - Fri Jan 13, 2006 12:14 pm

I cannot maintain concentration when I study. My concentration breaks within seconds of beginning. I don't understand why. I can read a book for hours, no problems. It's just studying. I am currently studying for my CPA Exam and ever if I remove all distractions and all there is is me, a pencil, a book, and paper, my mind will wander within seconds. I have tried telling myself to focus, foods, or water and I still cannot concentrate. Do you know what can help me and why I am having this problem? I was able to studying in college for short times, never had any problems this large before.
 dlugose - Mon Jan 16, 2006 5:38 pm

I take it from your saying "able to studying in college for short times" that you have had SOME problem concentrating for some time. It does not sound so far like a strictly medical problem. If you have any other new illness or new medications, what are they?

How is studying for the CPA different than studying in college? Is this a review where you are basicly already familiar with the material? Have you found the most interesting possible study materials?

One possibility is that you have been coping for some time with attention deficit disorder. Have you considered this? Why or why not do you think it likely you have it? Even if you do not have it you may find books and articles (such as online) designed to help ADHD people improve their study habits. If your attention span is less than average, making use of tips that others in similar situations would be wise. I myself have ADHD.

Does the scope of studying for certification seem enormous? Have you already broken it down into managable sub tasks so that you will feel like you are facing a smaller study assignment at each study session? Outline everything, decide how many months, a study schedule, then figure out what you are going to study the first week. Or perhaps you can pair up with someone else studying for the same exams.

Don't plan on studying productively 100% of each hour. Decide what would be a good goal based on how you have studied in the past. Plan an hour in a non distracting surrounding, plan on periodic rewards like something to do for 5-10 minutes every 30 min or every 45 min. I used to study in a college library where a lot of people are studying to put myself in the right frame of mind. On breaks I would browse nearby or get some coffee or something at the closest snack area, then return to studying on schedule, acknowleging that I was achieving my goals even while on break. Next time reassess how it went and set revised goals.

If the material you have to study is sometimes boring, intersperse the most interesting materials with the least. Good luck.

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