As I have said in previous posts, studying encompasses many factors, each of which could be presenting challenges to your successful study of a subject. 

If you struggle while trying to study for a class, midterm, final, or standardized test, this series will present some questions you can ask yourself to try to pinpoint where the problem(s) may be. Besides overcoming obstacles with your subject material, study mindset, and study methods, you need to be aware of where you study. Read below to understand why. 

Not everyone can or should study in pure silence. Sometimes people work better when there is a light amount of white noise in the background. However, sometimes people simply prefer noisier study places because they provide excuses not to study. Answer these questions honestly to see if your current study spot is really the best place for you. 

Am I aurally distracted? 

Consider whether hearing other people talking, music, and/or street noise disrupts your ability to focus.

Am I visually distracted? 

Consider distractions like TV, smart phones, people-watching, or even a window with a great view.

Am I starting, welcoming, or engaging in conversations with others? 

Unless you’re studying in a group or with a tutor, talking is likely not helping your studying.

Does this study spot encourage or force frequent breaks or study interruptions? 

Do staff, customers, electric outlet availability, hours of operation, or other issues force you to move locations, interrupt your study, or cut your study time short?

Is this study environment a comfortable one for studying? 

If the tables are the wrong height, the chairs are uncomfortable, and it’s too hot in the room, think again about studying here. Also, be wary of places that are too comfortable—you might fall asleep! 

Is there enough light in this space? 

Eye strain from poor lighting can lead to fatigue. Make sure you have a study space with an appropriate level of lighting.

Is this an academically-inspiring environment? 

You will be more motivated to study if other people are quietly studying around you, you have access to books and other study resources, and you are in a place that makes you want to be academically successful. 

You can use these questions to evaluate your current study environment or to help you locate a new one. Once you have the answers to these questions, use this as a checklist to evaluate and list places that could be good for studying. Chances are if you recognize that one of these factors is hurting your studying and take action to change your behavior or environment, you will start to see improvement sooner rather than later!