12 tips on how to focus on homework when you don’t feel like it.
- September 15, 2022
Table of Contents
Chances are, you’ve had some days when you felt overwhelmed after a long day at school. You couldn’t imagine doing anything other than plopping down in front of the television, let alone finding how to focus on your homework.
How can you overcome the resistance and get it done? How do you get your mind to include this task in your day as well?
With just a few adjustments, you will be able to expand your capacity to concentrate.
Why Can’t I Focus on My Homework?
Countless factors constantly fight for your attention : social media, people, overthinking, and anxiety. All of this can make you feel as though you have little control over your mind.
If you want to start to focus better on your homework, you’ll need to set your mind up for success. Remove all distractions .
Here are two key principles that can help you be more successful in your studies:
1. Identify the distractions in your surroundings
What are the things in your daily life that take your mind away from your studies? Clearly identifying these distractions can help you understand both the problem and what causes it.
Among our environmental distractions, digital distractions are one of the worst kinds — and according to a number of studies , their effect is on the rise in the classroom.
If you’re looking to gain more concentration and, thus, form better study habits, question your online behavior first and foremost.
2. Limit the use of technology to find focus
What’s the role of social media in your daily life? Have you ever sat down to calculate how social media distracts you from doing the things you should be doing?
When you are wondering how to focus on homework long after you’ve put your phone away, you’re still thinking about the last posts you saw on Instagram. The sound of new notifications can be enough to reroute our attention from the task at hand.
And then comes the information overload, the fear of missing out, and the all-too-common signs of addictive behavior. Technology is affecting your mind more than ever, and it’s taking your focus away.
How to Focus on Homework: 12 Things You Can Do to Be More Indistractible
Here are 12 tips on how to stay focused while completing your homework, taught by superbrain coach Jim Kwik and habit transformation expert Nir Eyal .
- Make a routine
- Set up a study-friendly environment
- Avoid heavy meals
- Organize your study notes
- Tell others to stay away
- Listen to study music
- Set deadlines
- Take brain breaks
- Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
- Use time blocking
- Let go of thoughts that distract you
- Reimagine your task
Let’s look at each study hack in more detail.
1. Make a routine
Routines help you be productive without exerting as much effort. When you have homework to do, a study routine can be the reason you actually sit down, set enough time aside, concentrate, and stay focused until you complete the project.
This process doesn’t need to be complicated: just tell yourself that you will sit at your desk at home once you’re back from school. Put your phone on silent, make an outline of the work that needs to get done, and simply begin with what’s most important.
2. Set up a study-friendly environment
A place for everything and everything in its place. That applies to studying, too.
Lying in bed with your notebook is considered a distraction, as is being in the living room with your laptop while others are doing their activities.
You need an isolated place when you decide to focus on your homework. Make it feel comfortable, keep it organized, keep it clean, and consider putting up some motivational posters or positive affirmations .
3. Avoid heavy meals
It’s not advisable to have a big meal beforehand. Big meals can ruin your focus and make you feel sluggish and lazy because it takes a big amount of time and energy for your body to digest. A snack is okay.
There are also some foods , though, that are just plain bad for your productivity. For example, soda, candy, and fried foods are all full of sugar and have no nutritional value. They make your insulin spike up, but then it crashes very fast, which makes you feel depleted of energy.
4. Organize your study notes
Prioritize your work. Keep lists and place the most important items on top. Then work on the items that you should get done first.
It helps to outline what you need to do, breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Use colors to highlight the essentials .
This makes it all look much simpler and you’re more likely to actually get started. The brain loves organization and it won’t be so likely to procrastinate when it knows you have a structure set in place.
5. Tell others to stay away
Don’t be afraid to let others know that you’re studying and require some time and space to get your work done. Decide on fixed hours for studying and tell your friends and family members that you won’t be available during that time of the day.
If others respect your study time, you’ll be more inclined to respect it as well.
6. Listen to study music
There are many tracks out there designed to help your mind focus. Whether you use binaural beats or just instrumental music, the right sounds can really help to tune your brain into a productive frequency.
This meditation is also great to listen to; it puts your mind in a clear, concise, and ready-to-take-on-the-world mode:
7. Set deadlines
Even if your teacher has already given you deadlines for each assignment, set new ones yourself at earlier dates.
This helps you build discipline, learn how to focus on studying, and prioritize every day.
8. Take brain breaks
Frequent breaks actually increase your productivity and focus. You’ll see that after each study session, the brain needs to be engaged with something different — you need to activate other parts of your brain before going back to your studies so that you can reach top performance.
You can also use the Superbrain Yoga Technique. In the Superbrain Quest, Jim talks about implementing it during your breaks. It goes as follows:
- Massage the left lobe of your ear with your right hand, and the right one with your left hand
- Inhale and squat down
- Exhale and come back up while continuing massaging your opposite ear with the opposite hand
- Keep going for a few minutes
As your body moves, your brain grooves. — Jim Kwik, trainer of Mindvalley’s Superbrain Quest
9. Use discomfort as motivation for productivity
The brain is wired to protect us from danger, and our ancestors needed this function of the psyche to survive. Discomfort is associated with danger, and whenever they felt it, they knew it was time to run away or protect themselves in one way or another.
In today’s world, danger isn’t so imminent. However, discomfort is, and the brain still works to protect us in the same way.
So why not use it to your advantage?
Once you have this mindset shift, you can see the discomfort that comes with doing your homework as fuel for moving forward, from pain to pleasure. So instead of procrastinating and avoiding the discomfort, just use it as motivation to get things done.
And maybe you can even save yourself a fun activity to do later in the day, so you have something to look forward to.
10. Use time blocking
You can use time blocking and set a specific amount of time for parts of your homework that needs to be done. For example, you block 30 minutes of reading, then another 30 minutes of writing down highlights from the text.
This method will give you more structure and support you when you need to focus on school work, as you will have a dedicated structured time to do so.
11. Let go of thoughts that distract you
When you need more concentration, but your thoughts keep getting in the way, here’s a fun visualization exercise you can use:
- Before you start working on your homework, close down your eyes and imagine a flowing river in front of you.
- Now, place every thought on a leaf and let it run down the river while watching it move away from you.
Do this repeatedly for 5-10 minutes and see how your mind becomes clearer, more productive, and more inspired.
12. Reimagine your task
How can you make the process of doing your homework more fun? Is there any way you can think of to make it more exciting and engaging?
As you introduce play and fun into any task, your capacity to stay focused will increase. So just try out different methods to engage more in your homework.
For example, what if you made a trivia quest about your history lesson homework? Or what about riddles to make you remember all the characters from the novel you have to read?
Once you play around with these kinds of games, you might find that focusing on your homework isn’t as boring as you thought it would be.
Unleash the Power of Your Focus
Discovering how to focus on your homework can go beyond schoolwork and actually support you in many other activities you want to do. Concentration is one of the best skills to nurture for your growth.
If you need a little guidance at the beginning of your focusing journey, Mindvalley has it in store for you.
By unlocking your FREE Mindvalley access , you can check out sample classes from quests that help you develop better focus and study habits, such as Becoming Focused and Indistractable by Nir Eyal and Superbrain by Jim Kwik. You can also immerse yourself in beautiful sounds and guided meditations designed to improve concentration and help you enter the flow state.
The earlier you start, the greater your journey of self-discovery will be. Welcome in.
- Try Mindvalley for Free
Experience the world’s most powerful life transformation platform
Begin your path to greatness with free Quest lessons, guided meditations, special community events, and more. Unlock your free Mindvalley access today. Get started
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7 Tips for Becoming More Mentally Focused
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
Rachel Goldman, PhD FTOS, is a licensed psychologist, clinical assistant professor, speaker, wellness expert specializing in eating behaviors, stress management, and health behavior change.
Staying on task can be difficult, but it can be particularly challenging when you are surrounded by constant distractions. In today's always-connected world, diversions are nothing more than a click away, which makes it that much more difficult to figure out how to focus.
Even during quiet moments, distraction is literally at your fingertips as you find yourself checking your social media notifications or the latest news updates.
But being mentally focused is essential for success. The ability to concentrate on something in your environment and direct mental effort toward it is critical for learning new things, achieving goals , and performing well across a wide variety of situations.
Whether you are trying to finish a report at work or competing in a marathon, your ability to focus can mean the difference between success and failure.
Fortunately, focus is a lot like a mental muscle. The more you work on building it up, the stronger it gets.
Becoming more mentally focused is achievable, but that doesn't mean that it's always quick and easy. If it was simple, then we would all have the razor-sharp concentration of an elite athlete.
It will take some real effort on your part and you may have to make some changes to some of your daily habits. Here are some tips and tricks from psychology that can help you learn how to focus and develop laser-like mental concentration.
Press Play for Advice On Staying Motivated
Hosted by therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast shares how to stay motivated and focused even when you don't want to. Click below to listen now.
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Evaluate How Mentally Focused You Are
Studio Firma / Getty Images
Before you start working toward learning how to focus, you might want to begin by assessing just how strong your mental focus is at the present moment.
You find it easy to stay alert
You set goals and break tasks up into smaller parts
You take short breaks, then get back to work
You daydream regularly
You can't tune out distractions
You lose track of your progress
If the first set of statements seems more your style, then you probably already have fairly good concentration skills, but you could be even stronger with a little practice.
If you identify more with the second set of statements, then you probably need to work on your mental focus quite a bit. It might take some time, but practicing some good habits and being mindful of your distractibility can help.
While it may sound obvious, people often underestimate just how many distractions prevent them from concentrating on the task at hand. Such intrusions might come in the form of a radio blaring in the background or perhaps an obnoxious co-worker who constantly drops by your cubicle to chat.
Minimizing these sources of distraction isn't always as easy as it sounds. While it might be as simple as turning off the television or radio, you might find it much more challenging to deal with an interrupting co-worker, spouse, child, or roommate.
One way to deal with this is to set aside a specific time and place and request to be left alone for that period of time. Another alternative is to seek out a calm location where you know you will be able to work undisturbed. The library, a private room in your house, or even a quiet coffee shop might all be good spots to try.
Not all distractions come from outside sources. Exhaustion, worry , anxiety, poor motivation, and other internal disturbances can be particularly difficult to avoid.
A few strategies you might want to try to minimize or eliminate such internal distractions are to make sure you are well-rested prior to the task and to use positive thoughts and imagery to fight off anxiety and worry. If you find your mind wandering toward distracting thoughts, consciously bring your focus back to the task at hand.
Limit Your Focus
While multitasking may seem like a great way to get a lot done quickly, it turns out that people are actually rather bad at it. Juggling multiple tasks at once can dramatically cut down on productivity and makes it much harder to hone in on the details that are truly important.
Attentional resources are limited so it is important to budget them wisely.
Think of your attention as a spotlight. If you shine that spotlight on one particular area, you can see things very clearly. If you were to try to spread that same amount of light across a large dark room, you might instead only glimpse the shadowy outlines.
Part of knowing how to focus is making the most of the resources you have available. Stop multitasking and instead give your full attention to one thing at a time.
Live in the Moment
It's tough to stay mentally focused when you are ruminating about the past, worrying about the future, or tuned out of the present moment for some other reason.
You have probably heard people talk about the importance of " being present ." It's all about putting away distractions, whether they are physical (your mobile phone) or psychological (your anxieties) and being fully mentally engaged in the current moment.
This notion of being present is also essential for recapturing your mental focus. Staying engaged in the here and now keeps your attention sharp and your mental resources honed in on the details that really matter at a specific point in time.
It may take some time but work on learning to truly live in the moment. You cannot change the past and the future has not happened yet, but what you do today can help you avoid repeating past mistakes and pave a path for a more successful future.
Mindfulness is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. Despite the fact that people have practiced forms of mindfulness meditation for thousands of years, its many health benefits are only recently starting to be understood.
In one study, researchers had human resources professionals engage in simulations of the sort of complex multitasking they engaged in each day at work.
These tasks had to be completed in 20 minutes and included answering phones, scheduling meetings, and writing memos with sources of information pouring in from multiple sources including by phone calls, emails, and text messages.
Some of the participants received 8 weeks of training in the use of mindfulness meditation , and the results found that only those who had received this training showed improvement in concentration and focus.
Members of the meditation group were able to stay on task longer, switched between tasks less frequently, and performed the work more efficiently than the other groups of participants.
Practicing mindfulness can involve learning how to meditate, but it can also be as simple as trying a quick and easy deep breathing exercise .
Quick Tip to Regain Focus
Start by taking several deep breaths while really focusing on each and every breath. When you feel your mind naturally begin to wander, gently and uncritically guide your focus back to your deep breathing.
While this might seem like a deceptively simple task, you may find that it is actually much more difficult than it appears. Fortunately, this breathing activity is something you can do anywhere and anytime. Eventually, you will probably find that it becomes easier to disengage from intrusive thoughts and return your focus to where it belongs.
Take a Short Break
Caiaimage / Paul Viant / Getty Images
Have you ever tried to stay mentally focused on the same thing for a long period of time? After a while, your focus starts to break down and it becomes more and more difficult to devote your mental resources to the task. Not only that, but your performance ultimately suffers as a result.
Traditional explanations in psychology have suggested that this is due to attentional resources being depleted, but some researchers believe that it has more to do with the brain's tendency to ignore sources of constant stimulation.
Researchers have found that even taking very brief breaks by shifting your attention elsewhere can dramatically improve mental focus.
So the next time you are working on a prolonged task, such as preparing your taxes or studying for an exam, be sure to give yourself an occasional mental break.
Shift your attention to something unrelated to the task at hand, even if it is only for a few moments. These short moments of respite might mean that you are able to keep your mental focus sharp and your performance high when you really need it.
Building your mental focus is not something that will happen overnight. Even professional athletes require plenty of time and practice in order to strengthen their concentration skills.
One of the first steps is to recognize the impact that being distracted is having on your life. If you are struggling to accomplish your goals and find yourself getting sidetracked by unimportant details, it is time to start placing a higher value on your time .
By building your mental focus, you will find that you are able to accomplish more and concentrate on the things in life that truly bring you success, joy, and satisfaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mental focus refers to your ability to concentrate on relevant information in your environment. This ability allows you to attend to things that require attention, complete tasks that you need to accomplish, and acquire new information.
While every person differs, the following strategies can help you stay mentally focused:
- Get enough sleep each night
- Reduce the distractions in your environment
- Focus on one task at a time
- Try to be more present in the moment
- Practice mindfulness
- Give yourself short breaks to clear your mind
- Limit your social media use
- Utilize effective time management strategies, such as the Pomodoro technique
In order to focus, the brain needs to filter out irrelevant information to concentrate on what really matters. Different types of attention can affect your ability to focus. Selective attention , for example, acts like a spotlight to highlight specific stimuli in your environment. Sustained attention, on the other hand, allows you to stay mentally focused on something for an extended period of time.
Strategies that can help you boost your concentration and focus over time include:
- Brain training and brain games
- Regular exercise
- Spending time in nature
- Eating a balanced diet
- Taking supplements to boost brain health
- Improving your sleep
Levy D, Wobbrock J, Kaszniak A, Ostergren M. The effects of mindfulness meditation training on multitasking in a high-stress information environment . Proceedings - Graphics Interface . 2012;45-52.
Ariga A, & Lleras A. Brief and rare mental breaks keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements . Cognition . 2011;118(3):439-443. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2010.12.007
Ariga, A, & Lleras, A. Brief and rare mental breaks keep you focused: Deactivation and reactivation of task goals preempt vigilance decrements. Cognition. 2011;118(3):439-443. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2010.12.007.
By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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What this handout is about.
The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.
Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :
- Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
- Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.
Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.
An Overview of Some Kind
The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:
“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”
The Task of the Assignment
Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)
“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”
Additional Material to Think about
Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.
“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”
These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:
“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”
These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.
“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”
The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.
Interpreting the assignment
Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:
Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?
Who is your audience.
- What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?
What kind of writing style is acceptable?
- What are the absolute rules of the paper?
Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.
Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that he or she will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .
Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.
Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs
Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:
Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.
- define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
- describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
- explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
- illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
- summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
- trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
- research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found
Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.
- compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
- contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
- apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
- cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
- relate —show or describe the connections between things
Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.
- assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
- prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
- evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
- support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
- synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
- analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
- argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side
More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:
- What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
- In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove her point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
- What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
- How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.
Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, he or she still has to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.
Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.
- Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
- The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and she already knows everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.
You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .
The Grim Truth
With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”
So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”
Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .
What kind of evidence do you need?
There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.
Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .
You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.
Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects.
No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .
Technical details about the assignment
The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.
Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.
Tricks that don’t work
Your instructors are not fooled when you:
- spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
- use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
- use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
- get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.
Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.
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How to Focus When Studying: 20 Uncommonly Effective Tips
Updated on August 28, 2023 By Daniel Wong 127 Comments
Do you find it hard to focus when you’re studying?
There are so many distractions these days: text messages, videos, email and social media.
Not to mention your own wandering mind.
Over the years, I’ve taught many thousands of students how to study more effectively.
One of the best ways to improve your grades is to learn how to focus better while you study.
I’ve come up with this list of 20 tips and techniques to help you concentrate while studying.
(To get 5 additional tips, download the free PDF below.)
Enter your email below to download a PDF summary of this article. The PDF contains all the tips found here, plus 5 exclusive bonus tips that you’ll only find in the PDF.
How to focus on studying.
You can learn how to focus better by trying some of these techniques during your next study session.
When you find one that works, make it a part of your routine every time you study.
1. Use your phone camera or webcam to record yourself studying
This tip may sound strange, but it works.
Set up your webcam or your phone camera to record a video of yourself studying.
The idea is to create accountability.
Instead of having a friend check on your progress, you have a camera watching everything you do.
Knowing that you are being watched will remind you of your objective.
Just when you’re about to get distracted, you’ll remember that everything you’re doing is being recorded.
It’s a useful reminder to yourself that you’ve made a commitment to study.
2. Use Focusmate
If you want to take it to the next level, use Focusmate instead.
With Focusmate, you make a pre-commitment to study for a 50-minute period at least one day in advance.
You then get paired with a real-life accountability partner.
You must turn on your webcam during the 50-minute session. This means that you and your study partner can see and hear each other during the study session.
If you leave your desk without giving an explanation, your study partner can report you, and vice versa.
Similarly, if you don’t turn up to your study session or if you are late, your study partner can report you.
Non-compliance results in the system marking you down. If your score falls below a certain level, the system will eventually lock you out.
But if you keep your commitments and complete your study session, the system will reward you with points.
3. If you don’t feel like starting work, take 1 minute to prepare yourself mentally
Sometimes you may not even feel like getting to work.
When this happens, take a minute to prepare yourself mentally.
Set a timer for a minute and tell yourself that you’ll start work when the timer goes off.
By doing this, you’ll be much more likely to get to work at the end of the minute.
This is called an “implementation intention”.
Any time you signal to yourself an intention to do something, it makes it easier to begin that task.
In this case, the implementation intention is to set a timer for a minute before starting a study session, if you feel like procrastinating.
So, if you find it hard to motivate yourself to start studying , take a minute and prepare yourself mentally.
By doing this, you will eliminate the resistance you were experiencing.
4. Before your first study session of the day, create a plan for the day
Make the plan as detailed as possible.
There’s a good reason for this. You must be clear about what you’re going to achieve during each study session.
For example, “study science” is not a sufficiently detailed study plan .
Here’s an example of a plan with enough detail: “Read pages 25 to 32 of the science textbook and create a summary diagram.”
When you break a task down into detailed components, you will have a better idea as to whether it’s achievable within the specified study period.
Another advantage of creating a detailed plan is that it becomes easier to assess your progress.
If you’re halfway through your study period and you’ve already completed half of what you planned to achieve, you’ll know you’re on track.
A key part of studying effectively is setting specific tasks to work on during each study session.
5. Write down exactly why you want to study hard
Another way to stay focused when studying is to be clear about why you want to study hard in the first place.
Write down the reasons you want to study hard.
Keep the list handy so you can remind yourself of these reasons when you find yourself losing concentration.
For example, you might write down:
- “I want to become a more knowledgeable person.”
- “I want to become a more self-driven person.”
- “I want to cultivate the habit of always doing my best.”
- “I want to make the most of my educational opportunities and learn as much as I can.”
Try to focus on process-oriented reasons rather than outcome-oriented reasons.
Because outcomes are often beyond your control, whereas the process is always within your control.
For example, the outcome of getting A’s for all your subjects is, in some ways, beyond your control. But studying for a total of at least 2 hours every day is a process that is within your control.
Here’s another reason to focus on the process rather than on the outcome.
The outcome could be something that may only come to pass in the distant future.
On the other hand, the process is something you engage in every day.
It’s far more effective to measure the achievement of the process than the achievement of the outcome.
6. Keep track of all the tasks you’ve completed
Keep a record of all the tasks you complete each day.
This is important for two reasons.
Firstly, it allows you to monitor whether you are meeting the objectives set in your study plan.
If you are not meeting your objectives, you may have underestimated the time required for the tasks.
But if you are completing your tasks with time to spare, you may be able to set your targets higher.
Secondly, it’s important for your morale to see that you are making progress.
Studying is an activity where progress isn’t always easy to measure. But when you keep track of the tasks you have completed, you’ll be clearer about the progress you are making.
This will remind you that you have been productive, which will keep you motivated.
7. Put only the materials you need for your current task on your desk
The brain is able to process information more effectively in an uncluttered environment. This is what researchers have discovered .
As such, it’s a good idea to place on your desk only the items that you need to complete the task at hand. For example, this might consist of the assignment, a pen, a pencil, an eraser, and a calculator.
Make a list of what items you’ll need during your study session. Make sure you have only those items on your desk.
If your study area is disorganised, take a couple of minutes to tidy it up before you start work.
Having things neat and tidy has a calming effect on your mind and will help you to concentrate.
8. Get your brain ready by doing deep breathing exercises before each study session
Deep breathing exercises increase the ability of your mind to focus.
Researchers at Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience have studied the effect of breathing exercises on the body’s production of noradrenaline.
Noradrenaline functions as a neurotransmitter, which affects your concentration.
By regulating your breathing, you can optimise your levels of noradrenaline.
The researchers concluded that “there is a strong connection between breath-centred practices and a steadiness of mind”.
Here is a simple breathing exercise that will bring calm and focus to your mind before you study:
- Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose for 4 seconds.
- When you feel that your lungs are full of air, hold your breath for 2 seconds.
- Then slowly exhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
Do this exercise three times in succession before the start of every study session.
Try it out now to see how relaxed it makes you feel!
9. Don’t study in bed
Don’t try to do anything productive while lying or sitting in bed.
It’s important that the place where you study is not the same as the place where you sleep .
You won’t be able to study effectively in a place that you associate with relaxing or sleeping. In fact, this is my first suggestion when students ask me how to avoid sleepiness while studying .
Also, if you study in bed you will either be lying down or sitting cross-legged.
Neither of these positions is conducive for maximal focus. These positions may even result in neckaches and backaches.
What’s more, you may end up taking unintended naps!
So do your work at a proper study desk, every single time – this is a good habit that every student should cultivate !
10. Adjust the temperature of your studying environment
Make sure the temperature where you are studying is optimal.
Researchers at Cornell University found some interesting results when office temperatures were raised from 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F).
Typing errors fell by 44% and output increased by about 150%.
Most research shows that the temperature most conducive for working and studying is in the range of 22°C to 25°C (72°F to 77°F).
So if it’s possible for you to adjust the temperature of your studying environment, keep it within this range.
11. Write down exactly what you’re working on at the moment
Every time you begin a study session, write down the task that you’ll be working on.
Do this on a rough sheet of paper and leave it on your study desk. This way, it will serve as a constant reminder about what you should be doing at the moment.
Just as you need a detailed plan for the day (Tip #4), you also need a detailed plan for each study session.
For example, if you write down “Do math assignment” for the current study session, it’s not specific enough.
“Do math assignment, questions 1 to 3 ” is more specific, so you’re more likely to stay on task.
12. Tell your family your study schedule for the day
Post your study schedule on your bedroom door or on the fridge door in the kitchen.
This way, your family will know when they shouldn’t disturb you.
There’s another benefit to doing this. It also gives you a greater sense of accountability.
By making a pre-commitment to your family about when you’ll be studying, you’ll be more likely to stick to your study schedule.
All in all, this is a simple tip that will enable you to concentrate when you’re studying.
13. Put all of your digital devices in another room
This might seem like common sense, but I’m surprised how many of my teenage coaching clients were not doing this before I started working with them.
The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” applies here.
Leave your tablet and phone in another room and put them on silent mode.
Minimising temptations is one of the keys to being productive.
In addition, even if you feel tempted to check your phone, you probably won’t do it because the effort required to walk to the other room is too great.
14. Use these two apps to eliminate digital distractions
The first app I recommend is Forest .
With this app, your study session “becomes” a tree.
At the beginning of the session, you plant the tree and it starts to grow. But if you close the app, the tree dies – and nobody wants their precious tree to die!
By using the app, you’ll have a more productive study session.
Of course, having your phone next to you while you study could be a distraction (as mentioned in the previous tip).
This means that you’ll need to be careful not to use your phone for anything else.
The second app you can use to remove digital distractions is Freedom .
You can schedule this app to block other apps such as YouTube, games, and social media to keep you on track.
15. Listen to classical music while studying
Listening to classical music is another way to help you focus when studying.
Dr. Masha Godkin , professor at Northcentral University, has researched the effects of music on our brains.
She found that classical music can take you from the beta brainwave state to the deeper alpha state, and even further to the theta state.
According to Dr. Godkin, the ability of music to stimulate both sides of the brain is why music helps you focus and also improves your memory .
Classical music with a fast tempo, such as Beethoven’s Für Elise, is effective in helping students to concentrate and remember more information.
16. If you don’t like classical music, listen to music/sounds from these two websites
If you don’t like classical music, try using Coffitivity instead.
Coffitivity simulates the sounds you would hear in a cafe to boost your creativity and brain function.
It’s designed based on research at the University of Chicago. This research shows that we think better and are more creative when there is a moderate level of background noise.
Alternatively, try listening to Brain.fm .
Brain.fm offers music engineered to help you achieve and sustain deep focus.
Personally, I use Brain.fm almost every day, and I’ve found it to be useful. By listening to Brain.fm, I’m able to stay focused for about 50% longer than before!
17. Use earphones or headphones while studying
If you intend to use Tips #15 or #16, then you’ll probably want to use earphones or headphones.
But even if you don’t want to listen to any type of music, using earphones or headphones is still a good way to improve your concentration while you study.
Because they insulate you from the outside world.
Using earphones or headphones is a signal to others that you are occupied.
This reduces the likelihood that others will interrupt your study session.
Wearing earphones or headphones will also remind yourself that you are in the middle of a study session.
18. Count how many study sessions you complete each day
There’s a saying that “what gets measured, gets done”. This principle applies to study sessions too.
Keep track of how many study sessions you complete each day.
This way, you’ll become more intentional about getting to work.
Let’s say that you typically study in blocks of 30 minutes.
Before you begin your first study session of the day, you might decide that your goal for the day is to do at least 3 sessions of 30 minutes each.
As the day goes by, count how many sessions you’ve completed.
By keeping score in this way, you’ll focus on the process of doing the work. As a result, you’ll get more work done!
19. When you feel as if you’re about to get distracted, write it down
It’s inevitable: From time to time, you’ll get distracted during your study sessions. So you need a strategy for dealing with these distractions.
Here’s a technique that works well.
Let’s say that you’re reading your science notes when you get the urge to check your text messages.
Instead of giving in to the temptation, write down on a rough sheet of paper: “Check text messages.”
Once you’ve done that, you’ll find that it’s easier to go back to studying.
During your next break, you can go ahead and do what you’ve listed on that rough sheet of paper. In this case, you can check your text messages.
Why is this technique effective?
Because instead of simply trying to resist the urge, you get to “take action” by writing down the distraction. In doing so, you’re acknowledging the urge without giving in to it.
This leaves you free to go back to what you were doing before – studying.
20. Set an end time for when you’ll stop studying each day
This might not be the advice you were expecting.
After all, shouldn’t you be trying to study for as many hours as you can every day?
No, because the idea is to study smart, not just hard.
Of course, you need to work hard. But it’s also essential to lead a balanced life.
So set a strict deadline, such as 9:30 pm, and make sure that you don’t do any work after that time. The best time of the day to study is specific to every student, but it’s important that you decide when you’ll stop studying each day.
This will give you time to wind down before going to bed. This means that you’ll be able to get those 8 hours of sleep that you need to optimise your academic performance.
There’s another advantage to setting a specific end time for when you’ll stop studying each day.
Clearly defined limits help you to concentrate on what you’re doing right now.
You won’t get distracted as often, because you know that you won’t stay up late to catch up on the time you’ve wasted because of procrastination.
You’ll learn more in less time, and you’ll get good grades too.
Staying focused while studying is something that all students struggle with.
But there are many things you can do to help you concentrate and get into a flow state when studying .
As described in this article, there are plenty of ways to harness the power of your mind and make it work with you, not against you.
So take at least several study tips from this article and work them into your routine, starting today.
If you do this, you’ll find that your study sessions will become more productive and enjoyable!
Like this article? Please share it with your friends.
May 2, 2020 at 7:18 pm
Thank you very much for your effort, its really taking me higher and making me more focused on my study. God bless you.
May 2, 2020 at 9:15 pm
You’re welcome, and God bless you too.
May 5, 2020 at 3:30 pm
They are so amazing thank you
May 5, 2020 at 4:53 pm
I’m glad you like the article.
October 6, 2020 at 11:29 am
I never thought some of these would work on me since I have autism and aspergers spectrum so I easily get distracted.
May 2, 2021 at 1:56 pm
Hi this is Sagar, I am preparing for a competitive exam but I am unable to the focused mindset. My mind won’t allow me to sir and study as it takes a lot of time to prepare for it. Could you please guide me regarding it ?
November 2, 2020 at 11:59 pm
Thank you so much sir. I am in class 10 but I am distracted now, so I’m reading this. I feel energetic now. If I am distracted again I will read this. Thanks a lot sir…
January 29, 2021 at 6:29 am
Hello Mr Wong, may I simply ask what it is you have studied at University and if you graduated.
October 22, 2022 at 12:07 am
Thanks To you I’ve been more focused and discipline and I can see the changes in progress thank you Sir.
May 7, 2020 at 2:04 am
These tips are so much fruitful for achieving something very big in life
May 7, 2020 at 8:04 am
August 5, 2020 at 10:12 pm
reallu unusual tips but when i play the results in my mind they fall in place perfectly……..will definitely check them out!!! thanks for such a wonderful article
April 27, 2021 at 11:09 pm
Really it’s more realistic….superb…tips
May 3, 2020 at 9:27 am
Thank you for giving us the tips.. Its very useful.. I hope everyone can study easier using these tips 🌈
May 3, 2020 at 10:32 am
You are welcome, and I hope everyone finds this article useful too!
May 3, 2020 at 12:04 pm
Thank you sir 😀
May 3, 2020 at 9:34 pm
May 4, 2020 at 7:47 am
Thnku so much for tips …I’ll try it definitely …👍
May 4, 2020 at 8:43 am
May 3, 2020 at 4:05 pm
This is truly the best article regarding effective study. Reading the article was itself a big motivation. This article covers every problem a student faces with the best solution provided. I am in loss of words in expressing my deep gratitude to the writer of this article. Thank You very much! There could be nothing better than this.
I appreciate your kind words!
November 26, 2020 at 8:09 pm
I am trying to follow all the tips that you’ve mentioned sir. They are so useful to me during quarantine.
January 10, 2021 at 4:07 pm
ya you are right
May 3, 2020 at 7:34 pm
I really procrastinate during quarantine….. I have been trying these tips for some days now. And they work. Thank you do much for the tips!!
May 3, 2020 at 9:35 pm
I’m glad to hear that the tips have worked for you!
May 3, 2020 at 11:04 pm
First of all, thx for allowing comments, for me, not allowing them is “questionable” and seens to become more and more common among the media these days… Second: many of these tips are really new to me. I think this article will help a lot, thank you very much! Blessings from Brazil!
You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that.
May 6, 2020 at 7:24 pm
I m going to try this from today it is difficult.thanks Sir
May 6, 2020 at 9:50 pm
All the best!
May 3, 2020 at 11:51 pm
This tips are very usefull. Thank you
May 4, 2020 at 8:44 am
May 4, 2020 at 12:18 am
In recent days… Procrastinate become my habit……I don’t know how …..But it happened……..These tips are very useful for me….Thank you sir….
I hope this article helps you!
May 4, 2020 at 12:45 am
It was really amazing 😍 Helped me a lot! Thank u so much😊
That’s great to hear!
May 4, 2020 at 12:51 am
Thank you very very much Sir.. everyone will find easier to focus on their studies like me during these quarantine days. It’s really benificial. I hope you’ll help us by your precious tips in future too.
You are very welcome.
May 4, 2020 at 1:10 am
I was looking for something like this for my studies. Thank you for doing this great work. I hope every student gets more and more benefit from this article. Thank you once again & God bless you.
May 4, 2020 at 8:45 am
You’re welcome and God bless you.
May 4, 2020 at 1:17 am
Unbelievable methods ND it’s very easy to relate with these ,sir really feeling blessed to see your article . Best article i have everything read sir related to studies .thanks a lot , thankyou so much sir Wong .
With regards .
May 4, 2020 at 2:23 am
Really an appreciable work from which I got new , effective, amazing and rejuvenating tips it’s really fab this article motivated me alot and make me feel energetic to indulge in my studies Apps provided by you are very helpful Thank you so much
I’m really happy to hear that!
May 7, 2020 at 7:00 am
Am really very greatful with the to and am really going to put it into practice Thanks once again
May 7, 2020 at 8:05 am
Thank you so much for your time and effort that you put into writing this article for us! I’ll definitely be downloading Focusmate and Freedom. Enjoy your day 😊
May 4, 2020 at 8:46 am
You’re welcome — thank you, I did take many, many hours to put this article together!
May 4, 2020 at 2:50 am
Thanks for sharing how to focus to study.Now I can get organize to start my Goal.
It’s my pleasure!
May 4, 2020 at 3:20 am
Thank You Sir your advice is very useful
You’re more than welcome.
May 4, 2020 at 4:25 am
May 4, 2020 at 8:47 am
You are welcome.
May 4, 2020 at 4:38 am
What can I do to motivate myself to start studying without stopping. Sometimes I feel I’m never going to finish how can I eliminate that feelings?
May 4, 2020 at 8:48 am
I’m sorry to hear that, but I think you’ll find this article useful: https://www.daniel-wong.com/2018/04/23/get-motivated-to-study/
May 4, 2020 at 7:22 am
Thanks for the tips
You’re very welcome.
May 4, 2020 at 7:26 am
Let me try for my children and let you know. Thank you.
Ok sure, thank you.
May 4, 2020 at 10:56 am
Every lines were worth reading. It help me realised where I’ve gone wrong and how i can improve my study session more effectively. Thank you so much for putting up all these tips together. I hope I’ll be able to implement them !!
May 4, 2020 at 11:47 am
All the best as you implement the tips!
May 4, 2020 at 1:05 pm
During the current situation is very likely to procrastinate, but your words are giving us enough motivation to do something. Thanks a lot.
May 4, 2020 at 2:35 pm
May 4, 2020 at 12:48 pm
Do you have a sample study schedule to share? Just a rough guideline will be good too. Thanks
May 4, 2020 at 2:36 pm
For that, you can check out this article ( https://www.daniel-wong.com/2015/01/14/straight-a-student/ ) — hope it helps.
May 4, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Can you please write an article On how to increase the hunger to study means we should get addicted to it
May 4, 2020 at 2:37 pm
I think you’ll find this article useful ( https://www.daniel-wong.com/2018/04/23/get-motivated-to-study/ ).
May 4, 2020 at 2:05 pm
Thank you very much for your generous sharing. I share these tips with students I am counselling. Will check in with them after a week or so, and I am sure they will be able to concentrate better and be more focussed.
These tips are also very useful for me.
Thank you, Helen. I’m glad you found the tips useful.
May 4, 2020 at 2:07 pm
Thnx a lot.. I will try these tips and let you know the results
May 4, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Thank you for sharing.
May 4, 2020 at 5:54 pm
It’s my pleasure.
May 4, 2020 at 4:52 pm
Its a really a great deal struggling to stay focus…Thanks for the insights, am sure it will be productive
May 4, 2020 at 5:55 pm
May 4, 2020 at 4:59 pm
Thank you so much sir for the really helpful tips ! Keep putting more content like this ..it’s really working !
I’m happy to hear that!
May 4, 2020 at 9:11 pm
Wooow! You did a wonderful and a great job. May God bless you and give you more wisdom for you to provide us with more of these things. Thanks.
May 4, 2020 at 10:18 pm
May 4, 2020 at 10:36 pm
The tips are just great, thank you sir
May 5, 2020 at 8:02 am
May 4, 2020 at 10:59 pm
Thanks so much for this article, lately I have being so distracted and often procrastinate about my studying time during this lockdown. But I believe with this article I will do well in studying and passing my professional exam. Pls I will like to be getting.ur articles often, how do get to read them.
May 5, 2020 at 8:05 am
You’re welcome. You can download this free guide ( https://www.daniel-wong.com/students-improve-focus/ ) to sign up for my mailing list, then you’ll get updated whenever I publish new articles.
May 4, 2020 at 11:18 pm
It’s one of the most valuable article I have read on effective studying tips till now …and surely goin to try these! Great work done 👍
May 5, 2020 at 8:00 am
May 5, 2020 at 1:04 am
Such an amazing article ever seen ,by reading itself I’m motivated thks alot for sharing such an article the subtitles mentioned in the article is very accurate to overcome distractions. I’m soo interested to include these in my daily routine for procrastinate my distraction. Once again thank you soo much.
May 5, 2020 at 7:59 am
May 5, 2020 at 1:14 am
This article came just in time. I’ve been looking for ways to keep me from getting distracted, but all I could really find is how to get motivated. I’ll definitely be using some of these tips!
I hope the tips work for you!
May 5, 2020 at 1:17 am
Such an amazing article ever seen thks alot for sharing this by reading itself I’m motivated moreover the subtitles mentioned in the article is very accurate to overcome distractions .I’m soo interested to include these in my daily routine for procrastinate my distractions. Once again thank you soo much. Share more stuffs like this which may help lots & lots of students.🙂🙂
I hope you manage to implement the tips successfully!
May 5, 2020 at 1:21 am
Thank you So Much Sir.. Now I’m preparing for Medical Entrance Examination…… These Tips really helpfull Expecting More…. 😄🙏 Sir….. Please pray for me to Crack My Exam… 😊
May 5, 2020 at 7:58 am
All the best for your exam!
May 5, 2020 at 3:12 am
Thank you very much for your advice! Have nice evening!
Sure, it’s my pleasure.
May 5, 2020 at 6:58 am
Thanks for sharing the tips of study.i am really worth it when read this article
May 5, 2020 at 6:59 pm
Mr.Daniel Wong I truly appreciate your extremely helpful efforts to make studies more productive.. Thank you so much for your article…
May 5, 2020 at 9:27 pm
You’re welcome, Pranjal.
May 6, 2020 at 6:26 am
It’s such an article for starting a productive study session or being attentive to study or even turning attention back to study..
May 6, 2020 at 8:15 am
All the best as you put the tips into practice!
May 6, 2020 at 11:19 am
Useful tips. Thank u
May 6, 2020 at 1:09 pm
You are welcome. I’m glad you found the tips useful.
May 6, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Thank you so much for such great tips and for taking the time to write this. I’ve saved this article and will implement the tips!
May 6, 2020 at 2:41 pm
Glad to hear that!
May 6, 2020 at 2:59 pm
One of the best article, I had came across during these days. It is motivational too. Thank you Mr. Daniel Wong for sharing very useful tips for all…. which are not only for students but every person.
Thank you once again
May 6, 2020 at 4:04 pm
You’re welcome, and thank you for your kind words!
May 7, 2020 at 6:50 am
This is very interesting and it will help some us! I think it will make a difference in our study! Thank you very much and continue with this great job! God bless you!
You are welcome and God bless you too!
May 13, 2020 at 2:53 pm
Thank you very much for the exceptional creative tips! These can help the learners a lot!
May 13, 2020 at 2:59 pm
May 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm
Thank you! I am trying to follow your advice roughly (I did that even before actually reading this article). The only thing is, I don’t think I need to videotape myself. Instead I just use tracking programs. And of course I write my assignments, organize a comfortable learning space, and leave my smartphone in my living room. I rarely turn on music – only when I feel that I can concentrate with it, but most of the time it’s easier for me to learn something in silence.
August 22, 2020 at 3:45 am
thanks a lot sir…it helped me a lot
August 31, 2020 at 10:47 pm
I love your suggestions…These are better than other websites which only state some common facts…your suggestions are great…I was also looking forward to using Focusmate…But it seems that only people 17 years old and above can use it…I am in middle school and just turned 13…Can you please suggest one more website just like Focusmate please…
October 6, 2020 at 11:31 am
Thanks, it really helped with my distraction problems!
December 23, 2020 at 10:21 pm
I’m preparing for exams which are after a month. These tips are soo helpful, I’m soo glad to have found this page. Thank you sir!🙂
January 8, 2021 at 2:46 am
thank you, this article really helps me!!!
January 17, 2021 at 11:08 pm
why i can’t focus in study
January 28, 2021 at 4:45 am
dude I just made an account on brain.fm
They should give you a cut when I pay for the year after my 3 day trial.
Going to go hit up a 2 hour session to “cinematic music focus”.
Might pair this with the tree app for extra measure.
(My issue is wanting to stop and hop on netflix — hence the tree).
February 15, 2021 at 1:23 pm
Really, this article got me excited as though I already practiced it. The methods are well outlined and easily implemented. The fact that it involves exercise, sleep and diet makes this article like an all-round solution for improving my learning, maintaining a healthy body and alleviating depression; all with just one article.
Thanks Mr Wong, you’re a life saver.
April 7, 2021 at 7:47 am
Thanks sir for your advise and tips, it really helped me focus in my study more.
April 11, 2021 at 8:33 am
thanks your article for studying.
May 9, 2021 at 8:01 pm
I found this useful. I have bookmarked this page so that I can come back here when ever I want it. thankyou so much
July 5, 2021 at 1:49 pm
thank you so much helped me alot
September 26, 2021 at 11:26 am
Thank you so much. The 16th tip helped me so much
November 14, 2022 at 8:35 pm
i really found it very helpful. amazing tips.
July 5, 2023 at 9:33 am
How to focus on main point.
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How to Focus on Homework
- How to Focus on Homework? 12 Practical Tips without Getting Distracted
1. Make You Feel Comfortable
2. create a study plan, 3. prepare your space, 4. prioritize your tasks, 5. use homework paper examples, 6. ask people around to help.
- 7. Find Creative Environment
8. Get Rid of Harmful Distractions
9. leave some distractions out there for fun, 10. prepare a reward for yourself, 11. listen to calm music, 12. use special learning tools & apps, why can’t i focus on homework, how to focus on homework if i like to procrastinate.
- Students Also Ask
- 1. Does physical condition affect my ability to focus on homework?
- 2. Is it only me who cannot focus on homework?
- 3. I can’t focus on homework in any way. What to do?
- 4. Should I focus on homework without pauses?
Each day you return home after school and classes, tired and annoyed. And instead of having a rest, you have to start working on your studies. It is tough to focus on homework when you want to join mates or spend some time on the net. "So how to stay focused to do my homework ?" you would ask. We have done new research on this question and have found some valuable information about studying to give answers. Hopefully, it will help you stay focused on homework in any environment and turn you into a productive student with the best grades!
How to focus on homework and do homework and how to get done with homework fast ? Let us start small. We have analyzed and sorted our best findings related to concentration, and here are quick tips and tricks for those who want to stay focused on their homework:
- Find motivation for yourself, e.g., take some rest after completing a paragraph when writing an essay .
- Maintain a routine schedule at home. This will make you more organized and able to focus on homework and complete any task.
- Put away any distractions. Switch off the TV and other media, close doors, or put on headphones if roommates have loud conversations that lure your attention away.
- Have some healthy snacks by your side in case you are hungry / want something tasty to eat.
- Keep your desk in order. It puts your thoughts in order as well, helping to focus on homework .
- Prioritize tasks. It might be best to accomplish quicker ones first to be motivated by your progress with each completed task.
In case you are constantly struggling to focus on homework, just need urgent help, why not contact professional writers who would do it for you? For study purposes, it is always helpful to get information from people who managed to solve this difficulty and achieve top grades. These pieces of advice will help you learn how to focus on your homework even when you’re tired, unmotivated, depressed, or sick.
Get dressed in something you adore to wear . Outerwear will only give you a sense of still being at school in front of your teachers & classmates so that you will be thinking about all the past day’s school events all the time. Many students ignore this rule and remain in the same clothes when trying to focus on homework. You need to have unique home clothing you wear during the day and the one you put on at night.
Any successful time management is impossible without proper planning. Students always have big problems with time management . It is the most expensive resource in the world, so try to play with it correctly. Find different homework planners and timers online using your computer, phone, or another device with internet access. It will take little effort to download and set up the chosen homework software, but it will help to keep focused by having a time map in your mind. Read more good tips on how to manage your time.
If you study in your room, open the window to breathe some fresh air. Make sure the lighting is proper enough for the homework preparation. Set the music on if you prefer classical composers. Other tracks won’t work as they are likely to disrupt your attention. Spend some minutes on solving one more problem, which is a dirty workplace. You need only your computer, textbook, and study notes. Leave distractions outside your room . Let’s say you can take them to your parents or living room, and then you can easily focus on homework assignments.
Another essential skill in completing your homework is the ability to prioritize your tasks. Arrange your tasks given by a teacher in order of importance and level of difficulty . Try to complete the most challenging tasks first. This method also helps to increase homework motivation . But do not get stuck on one task. Spend several minutes on your assignment. If you cannot do it, proceed to the next one. When you are through, you’ll be able to come back to the assignments you have missed.
School students can find free homework paper samples on any topic. Setting the template you like would help to solve similar problems in the future.
Your parents may control you until you finish your homework assignments. They might also know other great tips as they used to study at school one day too. Create a study plan with them . To help you stay focused on homework, they should come to your room every X minutes (it’s up to you) and check whether you work hard. Don’t ask your little sister/brother to help. Only people older than you know how to focus on homework and other scrupulous tasks. They need to concentrate on their work every day so that they can share practical tips with you. Should parents help with homework ? Read our guide to find out.
7. Find Creative Environment
What surrounds you matters. Find a place for studying where nothing distracts you, and you can focus on homework. Also, make sure to prepare all the things you’ll need to complete the assignment (pens, pencils, books, laptop, etc.) so that you can focus on your study activities and avoid distracting yourself every 10 minutes.
There are many distracting factors around, and the computer is the top thing to avoid while focusing on homework assignments. However, it’s not that easy sometimes: sitting in front of your computer all the time is one of the requirements of modern education — a real challenge for the human brain. You probably have a lot of music, movies, and games installed. People trying to connect with you on social networks is another significant problem. On the other side, you don’t want to block your friends forever. Try software that will block access to distracting websites like social accounts and online gaming for several hours while you are working. Leave free access only to several good websites related to your educational process or homework answer websites . We mean online libraries and online homework writing services that can help. If you cannot distract yourself from the phone and keep checking your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, feel free to block these apps for the time you work on your home assignment.
Some distractions serve as your rewards during the breaks. Make sure there are 10-15 minutes breaks in your homework study plan, just like at school. Make a list of things you like the most. Set a goal based on those priorities. For example, if you prefer listening to music more than reading or playing Super Mario, dedicate 10-15 minutes of your break to this activity. Classical music even helps to remain focused on your homework assignments. Popular songs with lyrics are all distractions. It is better to avoid such music.
If you are not motivated to focus on your homework assignment, set yourself a reward for completing this work. It might be anything, starting with some tasty food to going to a nice place. Such a reward will motivate you to complete the task faster. Check this blog post to discover more ideas on how to make homework fun .
Music helps to get extra concentration, but not any music. Classical music can also help focus on homework. Also, there are some special applications with customized music lists. Find such music on YouTube, for example. Just type music for concentration or music for studying.
Your computer serves as a great helping tool when you know how to use it properly. Set up either a homework planner or calendar to keep track of the learning process. Things like that help get focused on homework as you know the timeline and all the important deadlines on it, ensuring getting high grades. It is better to search on the official Android & AppStore to find great trackers and planners. Some apps offer help with math homework; others include a variety of good features too:
- setting alarms/notifications
- managing time with the help of academic calendar
- finding proper music
- providing effective learning tips
- getting rid of distractions
- breaking homework assignments into several parts
- solving problems faster
- complete study guides
- improved options for taking in-class notes
Use these great homework apps to feel focused:
- iStudiez Pro
- Scanner Pro
- Cite This for Me (ex RefMe)
- Wolfram Alpha
One of the most obvious answers to this question is that most probably you do not want to study and want to go out with your friends, go to the cinema, or do something else. For this reason, you cannot focus on homework and keep on procrastinating. If it’s not the case, there might be some other reasons.
- There might be some distractions, such as your phone, TV, or friends . Find the place where you can focus on homework and remove all the distractions. Turn on calm music or find special music for learning, which encourages concentration.
- The other reason is that you are hungry or tired . Then, have a nap and eat something tasty, but avoid unhealthy snacks and overeating.
- One more possible reason is that you are overloaded with tasks or do not know how to write that particular assignment. The easiest way out is to get writing assistance from professionals.
- Lack of motivation is another cause especially when you have too much homework . In such a case, motivate yourself, set a reward for completing the assignment, and focus on homework.
These 12 learning tips are very effective when you work on your school or college papers days and nights long and cannot properly focus on your homework. But such a life sacks all the creativeness and desire away in a snap, and you still have to invest time in education to get a good job in the future. Thus, many students make it through with the help of online writing services. The hardest part here was to find the right place to make your order – and here we are – and the complete paper full of great ideas on any topic or problem will be delivered just on time!
Students Also Ask
1. does physical condition affect my ability to focus on homework .
Yes. It is hard sitting all day long in front of the computer. Do easy physical exercises every 15-30 minutes to feel better. Stop taking notes or writing an essay for an hour or two to take a rest in the park or gym next door so that your brain gets refreshed.
2. Is it only me who cannot focus on homework?
No, you are way away from being alone here. More than 70% of students and workers in the world have serious troubles with focusing on homework and concentration on routine tasks and work because of a variety of reasons: stress, lack of physical activity, wrong diet, environmental issues, personal or family problems, and ADHD.
3. I can’t focus on homework in any way. What to do?
It is not easy to change ways and regain concentration, especially when you are dealing with stress and other problems. Begin with analyzing blockers, research, and list each kind of distraction for your brain; find out what other things make you turn away from essay or term paper. Find ways to motivate yourself to focus on homework and accomplish the task.
4. Should I focus on homework without pauses?
Don’t use the entire precious time on writing essays, learning, and focusing on homework – leave space for fun and rest. Otherwise, the brain won’t be able to focus, and you will not start doing homework at once. People who fall asleep after being tired every several minutes can’t concentrate on their work or learning process.
Kids from 5 to 12 grade that study at school get a lot of homework during studying. Some of them couldn't understand the goal of spending a lot of time on their assignments. Some children may say they have got too much homework that is useless and just boring, they want answer the question who do my...
It is hard to argue with a lot of researches that show the pitfalls of homework. Yet, the benefits prevail and you keep getting your math, literature, and history homework every day. Leave the arguments to scholars and other educators, and take care of your home assignment. If you feel like homework...
Are you a parent who wants to encourage his kid to study? Or you are a student who just wants to find out how to do homework effectively. No matter who you are and how hard the homework is. Our homework service made an article that will teach our readers how to make homework fun and deal with it eff...
Deep Learning Techniques: How to Focus on One Subject
- Turn on silent mode in your phone or put it away (at least turn off the notifications)
- Log out from desktop versions of the messengers
- Close all browser windows that are not related to your subject
- Wear headphones to eliminate noise
- Having a healthy snack
- Taking a shower
- Going for a short walk
- Having a chat with your best friend
- Doing exercise
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Teaching, Learning, & Professional Development Center
- Teaching Resources
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How Do I Create Meaningful and Effective Assignments?
Prepared by allison boye, ph.d. teaching, learning, and professional development center.
Assessment is a necessary part of the teaching and learning process, helping us measure whether our students have really learned what we want them to learn. While exams and quizzes are certainly favorite and useful methods of assessment, out of class assignments (written or otherwise) can offer similar insights into our students' learning. And just as creating a reliable test takes thoughtfulness and skill, so does creating meaningful and effective assignments. Undoubtedly, many instructors have been on the receiving end of disappointing student work, left wondering what went wrong… and often, those problems can be remedied in the future by some simple fine-tuning of the original assignment. This paper will take a look at some important elements to consider when developing assignments, and offer some easy approaches to creating a valuable assessment experience for all involved.
First Things First…
Before assigning any major tasks to students, it is imperative that you first define a few things for yourself as the instructor:
- Your goals for the assignment . Why are you assigning this project, and what do you hope your students will gain from completing it? What knowledge, skills, and abilities do you aim to measure with this assignment? Creating assignments is a major part of overall course design, and every project you assign should clearly align with your goals for the course in general. For instance, if you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking, perhaps asking them to simply summarize an article is not the best match for that goal; a more appropriate option might be to ask for an analysis of a controversial issue in the discipline. Ultimately, the connection between the assignment and its purpose should be clear to both you and your students to ensure that it is fulfilling the desired goals and doesn't seem like “busy work.” For some ideas about what kinds of assignments match certain learning goals, take a look at this page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons.
- Have they experienced “socialization” in the culture of your discipline (Flaxman, 2005)? Are they familiar with any conventions you might want them to know? In other words, do they know the “language” of your discipline, generally accepted style guidelines, or research protocols?
- Do they know how to conduct research? Do they know the proper style format, documentation style, acceptable resources, etc.? Do they know how to use the library (Fitzpatrick, 1989) or evaluate resources?
- What kinds of writing or work have they previously engaged in? For instance, have they completed long, formal writing assignments or research projects before? Have they ever engaged in analysis, reflection, or argumentation? Have they completed group assignments before? Do they know how to write a literature review or scientific report?
In his book Engaging Ideas (1996), John Bean provides a great list of questions to help instructors focus on their main teaching goals when creating an assignment (p.78):
1. What are the main units/modules in my course?
2. What are my main learning objectives for each module and for the course?
3. What thinking skills am I trying to develop within each unit and throughout the course?
4. What are the most difficult aspects of my course for students?
5. If I could change my students' study habits, what would I most like to change?
6. What difference do I want my course to make in my students' lives?
What your students need to know
Once you have determined your own goals for the assignment and the levels of your students, you can begin creating your assignment. However, when introducing your assignment to your students, there are several things you will need to clearly outline for them in order to ensure the most successful assignments possible.
- First, you will need to articulate the purpose of the assignment . Even though you know why the assignment is important and what it is meant to accomplish, you cannot assume that your students will intuit that purpose. Your students will appreciate an understanding of how the assignment fits into the larger goals of the course and what they will learn from the process (Hass & Osborn, 2007). Being transparent with your students and explaining why you are asking them to complete a given assignment can ultimately help motivate them to complete the assignment more thoughtfully.
- If you are asking your students to complete a writing assignment, you should define for them the “rhetorical or cognitive mode/s” you want them to employ in their writing (Flaxman, 2005). In other words, use precise verbs that communicate whether you are asking them to analyze, argue, describe, inform, etc. (Verbs like “explore” or “comment on” can be too vague and cause confusion.) Provide them with a specific task to complete, such as a problem to solve, a question to answer, or an argument to support. For those who want assignments to lead to top-down, thesis-driven writing, John Bean (1996) suggests presenting a proposition that students must defend or refute, or a problem that demands a thesis answer.
- It is also a good idea to define the audience you want your students to address with their assignment, if possible – especially with writing assignments. Otherwise, students will address only the instructor, often assuming little requires explanation or development (Hedengren, 2004; MIT, 1999). Further, asking students to address the instructor, who typically knows more about the topic than the student, places the student in an unnatural rhetorical position. Instead, you might consider asking your students to prepare their assignments for alternative audiences such as other students who missed last week's classes, a group that opposes their position, or people reading a popular magazine or newspaper. In fact, a study by Bean (1996) indicated the students often appreciate and enjoy assignments that vary elements such as audience or rhetorical context, so don't be afraid to get creative!
- Obviously, you will also need to articulate clearly the logistics or “business aspects” of the assignment . In other words, be explicit with your students about required elements such as the format, length, documentation style, writing style (formal or informal?), and deadlines. One caveat, however: do not allow the logistics of the paper take precedence over the content in your assignment description; if you spend all of your time describing these things, students might suspect that is all you care about in their execution of the assignment.
- Finally, you should clarify your evaluation criteria for the assignment. What elements of content are most important? Will you grade holistically or weight features separately? How much weight will be given to individual elements, etc? Another precaution to take when defining requirements for your students is to take care that your instructions and rubric also do not overshadow the content; prescribing too rigidly each element of an assignment can limit students' freedom to explore and discover. According to Beth Finch Hedengren, “A good assignment provides the purpose and guidelines… without dictating exactly what to say” (2004, p. 27). If you decide to utilize a grading rubric, be sure to provide that to the students along with the assignment description, prior to their completion of the assignment.
A great way to get students engaged with an assignment and build buy-in is to encourage their collaboration on its design and/or on the grading criteria (Hudd, 2003). In his article “Conducting Writing Assignments,” Richard Leahy (2002) offers a few ideas for building in said collaboration:
• Ask the students to develop the grading scale themselves from scratch, starting with choosing the categories.
• Set the grading categories yourself, but ask the students to help write the descriptions.
• Draft the complete grading scale yourself, then give it to your students for review and suggestions.
A Few Do's and Don'ts…
Determining your goals for the assignment and its essential logistics is a good start to creating an effective assignment. However, there are a few more simple factors to consider in your final design. First, here are a few things you should do :
- Do provide detail in your assignment description . Research has shown that students frequently prefer some guiding constraints when completing assignments (Bean, 1996), and that more detail (within reason) can lead to more successful student responses. One idea is to provide students with physical assignment handouts , in addition to or instead of a simple description in a syllabus. This can meet the needs of concrete learners and give them something tangible to refer to. Likewise, it is often beneficial to make explicit for students the process or steps necessary to complete an assignment, given that students – especially younger ones – might need guidance in planning and time management (MIT, 1999).
- Do use open-ended questions. The most effective and challenging assignments focus on questions that lead students to thinking and explaining, rather than simple yes or no answers, whether explicitly part of the assignment description or in the brainstorming heuristics (Gardner, 2005).
- Do direct students to appropriate available resources . Giving students pointers about other venues for assistance can help them get started on the right track independently. These kinds of suggestions might include information about campus resources such as the University Writing Center or discipline-specific librarians, suggesting specific journals or books, or even sections of their textbook, or providing them with lists of research ideas or links to acceptable websites.
- Do consider providing models – both successful and unsuccessful models (Miller, 2007). These models could be provided by past students, or models you have created yourself. You could even ask students to evaluate the models themselves using the determined evaluation criteria, helping them to visualize the final product, think critically about how to complete the assignment, and ideally, recognize success in their own work.
- Do consider including a way for students to make the assignment their own. In their study, Hass and Osborn (2007) confirmed the importance of personal engagement for students when completing an assignment. Indeed, students will be more engaged in an assignment if it is personally meaningful, practical, or purposeful beyond the classroom. You might think of ways to encourage students to tap into their own experiences or curiosities, to solve or explore a real problem, or connect to the larger community. Offering variety in assignment selection can also help students feel more individualized, creative, and in control.
- If your assignment is substantial or long, do consider sequencing it. Far too often, assignments are given as one-shot final products that receive grades at the end of the semester, eternally abandoned by the student. By sequencing a large assignment, or essentially breaking it down into a systematic approach consisting of interconnected smaller elements (such as a project proposal, an annotated bibliography, or a rough draft, or a series of mini-assignments related to the longer assignment), you can encourage thoughtfulness, complexity, and thoroughness in your students, as well as emphasize process over final product.
Next are a few elements to avoid in your assignments:
- Do not ask too many questions in your assignment. In an effort to challenge students, instructors often err in the other direction, asking more questions than students can reasonably address in a single assignment without losing focus. Offering an overly specific “checklist” prompt often leads to externally organized papers, in which inexperienced students “slavishly follow the checklist instead of integrating their ideas into more organically-discovered structure” (Flaxman, 2005).
- Do not expect or suggest that there is an “ideal” response to the assignment. A common error for instructors is to dictate content of an assignment too rigidly, or to imply that there is a single correct response or a specific conclusion to reach, either explicitly or implicitly (Flaxman, 2005). Undoubtedly, students do not appreciate feeling as if they must read an instructor's mind to complete an assignment successfully, or that their own ideas have nowhere to go, and can lose motivation as a result. Similarly, avoid assignments that simply ask for regurgitation (Miller, 2007). Again, the best assignments invite students to engage in critical thinking, not just reproduce lectures or readings.
- Do not provide vague or confusing commands . Do students know what you mean when they are asked to “examine” or “discuss” a topic? Return to what you determined about your students' experiences and levels to help you decide what directions will make the most sense to them and what will require more explanation or guidance, and avoid verbiage that might confound them.
- Do not impose impossible time restraints or require the use of insufficient resources for completion of the assignment. For instance, if you are asking all of your students to use the same resource, ensure that there are enough copies available for all students to access – or at least put one copy on reserve in the library. Likewise, make sure that you are providing your students with ample time to locate resources and effectively complete the assignment (Fitzpatrick, 1989).
The assignments we give to students don't simply have to be research papers or reports. There are many options for effective yet creative ways to assess your students' learning! Here are just a few:
Journals, Posters, Portfolios, Letters, Brochures, Management plans, Editorials, Instruction Manuals, Imitations of a text, Case studies, Debates, News release, Dialogues, Videos, Collages, Plays, Power Point presentations
Ultimately, the success of student responses to an assignment often rests on the instructor's deliberate design of the assignment. By being purposeful and thoughtful from the beginning, you can ensure that your assignments will not only serve as effective assessment methods, but also engage and delight your students. If you would like further help in constructing or revising an assignment, the Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center is glad to offer individual consultations. In addition, look into some of the resources provided below.
“Creating Effective Assignments” http://www.unh.edu/teaching-excellence/resources/Assignments.htm This site, from the University of New Hampshire's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, provides a brief overview of effective assignment design, with a focus on determining and communicating goals and expectations.
Gardner, T. (2005, June 12). Ten Tips for Designing Writing Assignments. Traci's Lists of Ten. http://www.tengrrl.com/tens/034.shtml This is a brief yet useful list of tips for assignment design, prepared by a writing teacher and curriculum developer for the National Council of Teachers of English . The website will also link you to several other lists of “ten tips” related to literacy pedagogy.
“How to Create Effective Assignments for College Students.” http:// tilt.colostate.edu/retreat/2011/zimmerman.pdf This PDF is a simplified bulleted list, prepared by Dr. Toni Zimmerman from Colorado State University, offering some helpful ideas for coming up with creative assignments.
“Learner-Centered Assessment” http://cte.uwaterloo.ca/teaching_resources/tips/learner_centered_assessment.html From the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo, this is a short list of suggestions for the process of designing an assessment with your students' interests in mind. “Matching Learning Goals to Assignment Types.” http://teachingcommons.depaul.edu/How_to/design_assignments/assignments_learning_goals.html This is a great page from DePaul University's Teaching Commons, providing a chart that helps instructors match assignments with learning goals.
Additional References Bean, J.C. (1996). Engaging ideas: The professor's guide to integrating writing, critical thinking, and active learning in the classroom . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fitzpatrick, R. (1989). Research and writing assignments that reduce fear lead to better papers and more confident students. Writing Across the Curriculum , 3.2, pp. 15 – 24.
Flaxman, R. (2005). Creating meaningful writing assignments. The Teaching Exchange . Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008 from http://www.brown.edu/Administration/Sheridan_Center/pubs/teachingExchange/jan2005/01_flaxman.pdf
Hass, M. & Osborn, J. (2007, August 13). An emic view of student writing and the writing process. Across the Disciplines, 4.
Hedengren, B.F. (2004). A TA's guide to teaching writing in all disciplines . Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Hudd, S. S. (2003, April). Syllabus under construction: Involving students in the creation of class assignments. Teaching Sociology , 31, pp. 195 – 202.
Leahy, R. (2002). Conducting writing assignments. College Teaching , 50.2, pp. 50 – 54.
Miller, H. (2007). Designing effective writing assignments. Teaching with writing . University of Minnesota Center for Writing. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2008, from http://writing.umn.edu/tww/assignments/designing.html
MIT Online Writing and Communication Center (1999). Creating Writing Assignments. Retrieved January 9, 2008 from http://web.mit.edu/writing/Faculty/createeffective.html .
Finding your focus in a writing project.
In an effort to make our handouts more accessible, we have begun converting our PDF handouts to web pages. Download this page as a PDF: Finding Focus in a Writing Project Return to Writing Studio Handouts
Each writing project presents its own organizational challenges. Sometimes a writer can go on and on for pages with examples that prove a point…only she hasn’t quite figured out what that point is or noticed that all of her examples make the same basic illustration.
Other times a writer has great ideas, but can’t quite figure out how to begin writing (ever try explaining a five-hundred-page novel AND its relation to jazz in just under 7 pages?). For such assignments, it’s important to find your focus .
Having a focus will help make the purpose of your writing clear and allow readers to follow your reasoning with ease.
Defining Focus and How to Find It
Focus is the controlling idea, main point, or guiding principle of your writing. Strong writing has a very clear focus with secondary and related ideas positioned in order to supplement or support it.
Focus is not something a writer necessarily has at the beginning of the writing process, but something she “finds” and refines through exploration, drafting, and revision. If you find yourself making broad generalizations, rather than specific claims, you should check on your focus.
Questions To Help Bring Your Writing Into Focus
There is no exact formula for finding focus within your writing, but a few questions might help you zero in on your topic:
Question 1: What’s Most Important?
- If I have two divergent ideas, which one do I find more compelling? For analyses, do I need to explain the entire text being analyzed to make my point, or can it be made by using a few sections?
Question 2: What does the assignment ask me to do?
- What will my readers be looking for? Are they more concerned with my textual arguments, my contextual arguments, my explanation or summary of the issue, or my own view? Will they be looking for breadth, depth, or something else? Should I focus on one aspect of a particular issue rather than taking on the entire problem?
Question 3: What will my readers need to know more about?
- Have I provided complete and detailed explanations that will guide my readers forward and keep the argument on course?
Question 4: How well does my organization and structure serve my larger purpose?
- Can I identify a logical progression of ideas within the essay? Might there be a better order for the content / argument?
- Do I develop my points with minimal distraction? Or do I get muddled in tangential explanations and extraneous information?
Additional Techniques to Help You Find Focus
Technique 1: listing.
When you have several broad ideas to contend with, sometimes it’s best to just get them onto the page and out of your system. Listing allows you to categorize your ideas before committing to one. Here’s how it works:
- Start with the overarching idea. It could be about the main character, an important theme, a major scene, a particular argument, etc.
- Under that idea, begin listing whatever comes to mind in association with it. As you go, your list items may or may not become more specific.
- If your items are becoming more and more specific, you might have the beginnings of an outline. Step back and see which items might make a more manageable topic.
- If your items are not becoming more specific, try to circle and connect any related terms that you have listed. Do any patterns begin to emerge? If several words or concepts seem to be related, begin a new list with these as your starting point.
Technique 2: Outlining
Outlining is great when your topic is fairly well developed, but you aren’t quite sure how you want to tackle it. It allows you to roughly map the progress of your paper before committing to the actual writing. The trick, of course, is knowing when to follow it and when to modify it (know when to hold ‘em; know when to fold ‘em). For a standard 5-7 page paper, your outline should not exceed one page. If you find that your subheadings are growing exponentially, it’s a good bet that your main headings are too broad.
Technique 3: Draft Map
Draft maps are great when you’ve already written a first draft and want to examine the larger structure of your paper. They allow you to see which paragraphs support your thesis and which paragraphs do not.
- Identify your thesis statement or controlling ideas in the introduction. If you have more than one major claim, label each one (e.g. A, B, C or color code them).
- Identify the topic sentence or main idea of each of your paragraphs.
- Once you’ve identified the main idea of each paragraph, label them according to the main ideas outlined in your introduction. If a paragraph doesn’t fit, give it another label (i.e. if your paragraph doesn’t fit major claims A-C, give it the letter D).
- Tally your results: Is there a vast difference between your introduction and the ideas in your paragraphs? Is one idea treated significantly more than another? If so, perhaps you should consider refocusing on this idea rather than attempting to tackle the others or consider devoting more time to the other ideas.
Last revised: 07/2008 | Adapted for web delivery: 12/2021 In order to access certain content on this page, you may need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader or an equivalent PDF viewer software.
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I Can’t Focus on My Assignment (What to Do?)
Struggling to focus on your assignment? If you are, don’t worry because you’re not alone. Procrastination affects us all, and Douglas Adams famously said that he loved deadlines because of the whooshing sound they make as they go by.
But what exactly should we do if we can’t focus on our assignments and we have a looming deadline? Panic?
Nuh uh, we’ve got something better for you. Here are a few of our top tips for dealing with writers block when you’re struggling to focus on your assignment.
What to Do When You Can’t Focus On Your Assignment
- Use the Pomodoro Method
This productivity hack basically requires you to split your time up into chunks and to use those chunks of time to focus on one thing at a time. For example, perhaps you spend 20 minutes working on your assignment, have a five minute break and then repeat in productivity sprints.
This popular productivity app is designed to wean you off your addiction to your phone and to reward you for focussing on one thing at a time. The idea is that once the app is running, you don’t touch your phone for as long as it takes for a virtual tree to grow. It’s hard to put into words how satisfying it can be to watch your virtual forest taking shape.
- Switch Roles
If you’re struggling to focus on writing your assignment, perhaps you can switch things up and carry out a little of the research. If it’s the research that’s getting you down, perfect the layout or try to get a couple of hundred words down. Switching things up like this can help to keep everything feeling fresh.
- Reward Yourself
Some people find that the best way to motivate themselves is to work towards a reward, and so rewarding yourself can be a powerful way to encourage yourself to get things done. For example, perhaps you have a bag of sweets and allow yourself to eat one for every 100 words that you get down.
- Get a Change of Scene
If you spend too much time in a single place, you can start to feel stilted and a little bored. That’s why it can be a good idea to get a change of scene every now and then and to work on your assignment in different places. For example, if you’re struggling to focus and you’ve been working from a laptop in your dorm room, perhaps you could try going out to a coffee shop and working from there instead.
If all else fails and you’re still struggling to get your essay finished, you can always call for backup by hiring an essay writing company to help out. Many of these companies have specialist teams that are dedicated to certain types of subject matter, like technology, languages or philosophy.
Now that you know just a few of our top tips to help you to focus when you’re working on an assignment, it’s time for you to put them into action and to see if you can make them work for you. Remember that different things work for different people, and the important thing is to find an approach that works for you and which makes you more productive.
Have you struggled to focus on your assignments? If so, have you tried any of the tips on our list and found them to work for you? Let us know what you think with a comment.
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How To Focus On Homework And Score Top Grades (Really)
The term homework is one that many students would rather not hear mentioned. Furthermore, the subject of homework has sparked such a heated debate among scholars – is it necessary or not? However, this article’s focus is to help students at all levels learn how to stay focused while doing homework.
If homework is not your favorite, do not skip this post. You never know what the end of it holds for you.
What Is Homework?
Although this may be a cliché to many already, it would be prudent to have a working definition to guide this discussion. As the root word suggests, homework is schoolwork done outside school – especially at home. Teachers may assign homework based on:
What the students have learned that day in class What the teacher intents to teach the following day Some of the concepts that brought difficulty to the students
Students are therefore required to carry this assignment at home and complete it on their own. However, as we will see in our discussion, this is not always easy. Most students, whether kindergarten kids, college or university students, have trouble focusing on their homework.
How To Focus On Homework – Why Is It Necessary?
Research has shown that homework plays a critical role in the life of any student. Some of the reasons why homework assignments are necessary to include:
- It helps students understand concepts better.
- Teachers can gauge the understanding of the students
- It keeps students engaged while at home
- Parents can be part of their student’s academic journey through such tasks.
Therefore, all students need to learn how to focus on homework to achieve the above objectives and more. Learning how to stay focused on assignment is necessary in the following manner:
Students will be able to complete assignments on time. When students know how to ward off any homework distractions, they can fully concentrate on their homework and complete it on time. It helps them write correct answers. Students who know how to focus on homework can research well and develop the right solutions for their assignments. They will also be able to avoid minor grammatical and spellings errors in their papers. It makes a complex assignment seem easy! With a total concentration on a particular homework problem, students can easily find answers even to the most challenging issues.
That is why you need to master how to concentrate on h/w. It is a skill that has helped many students finish their assignments and score top-tier grades even at the college level. You are not an exception either! Once you cultivate the skill of how to focus better on homework, the returns will be rewarding.
But why can’t I focus on homework? You may ask.
Can’t Focus On Homework? Here Is Why?
- A long day at school: The long, tiresome school activities can wear you out to the point of failing to focus on your homework. Some may not even want to see their books anywhere close to them.
- Complex assignments: Some of the technical tasks can turn you off completely. For instance, failing to find an answer after four or more attempts can make you lose your concentration.
- Unfinished businesses: In the process of trying to complete your homework, you may remember an errand you were to make. Sometimes, you may have promised to pay a courtesy call to a particular friend. All these will raise a sense of anxiety in you and derail your concentration levels.
- Environmental factors: There are times when the downpour is so heavy that you lose concentration. A stubborn bird that likes to rest next to your window can also be a distraction.
- Emotional disorders: Although many may not know this, emotions and attitudes play a crucial role in concentration. If you are experiencing any form of emotional instability, you may not be able to complete your assignment as planned.
- Noise from around: Your neighbor might decide to show you how loud his home theatre system can go. Your siblings might also distract by noise from their toys or video games. None of these will keep your mind fully on the homework.
- You might be lazy! Please don’t feel like I am too hard on you. Laziness is a common thing that affects everyone – even the president feels sluggish at times! It can distract a student from focusing on the homework and completing it.
All these might distract you to the point of screaming (like I did some time last year). However, there are working tips and advice from expert writers that can help you concentrate on homework. Let’s have a look at them.
What To Do When You Can’t Focus On Homework
Use the following tricks to focus when doing your homework:
- Get some rest after coming home from school: The human mind also gets tired, just like any other body part. Therefore, you can take a shower and a little nap after school before engaging in your homework. A fresh mind is a catalyst to total concentration.
- Have all the materials you need beforehand: It is essential to assemble all the tools necessary for your homework before starting. Collate all the stationery and refreshments you may need in advance. It prevents getting up now and then to get a forgotten ruler or calculator from the other room or classmate next door.
- Choose the best time for completing your homework: Research shows that the mind works best early in the morning. You can decide to rest early and wake up in the morning to complete your assignment. After all, your stubborn siblings and the noisy neighbor will not be awake by this time.
- Have an order of completing your tasks: For instance, math homework can contain both problematic and simple sums. You can alternate these two so that you do not end up tackling five technical aggregates at the same time that will drain you off quickly.
- Get rid of destructions: Things such as music, television, computers, mobile phones, and other electronic gadgets can be a huge distraction. It would be wise of you to put them away when completing your homework not to be distracted. If possible, you can switch them off.
- Complete urgent errands first: Before sitting down to begin your homework, ensure that you have completed every chore you were assigned. It will enable you to focus your mind entirely on your task and not on the incomplete errands you have to go.
- Make a cup of coffee! It can do the magic perfectly well. When you feel like your concentration levels are getting low, especially during the night, you can make one for yourself. It will also keep you from dosing off amid the work.
- Listening to soft, soothing music: Psychologists say that the mind works best when a conducive environment is created. Slow music playing in the background can help maintain your concentration levels during studying. However, loud music is not recommended for such cases.
- Take a glass of water: Long hours of completing assignments can dehydrate your brain. The result of this is loss of concentration. Taking water hydrates it and thus increases brain activity. You will be able to focus on your homework once again as if you just began.
- Keep your mind up and alert: Psychologists have recommended chewing gum as a way of engaging your mind and keeping it active. It will help you maintain focus on your homework to the end.
- Avoid sugary foods: Things like sweets, chocolate, juice, or biscuits are a no-go zone if you wish to focus on your homework. They will only work to reduce your brain activity and make you sleepy.
The tips discussed above are only practical when implemented. Some of them may require you to push yourself to the limit, but they are necessary if you want to score top-notch grades. Remember that practice makes perfect!
How To Do Homework Without Getting Distracted During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic struck the whole world with a bang destabilizing almost every system. Education has not been spared either, and students have to adopt new and creative ways of completing homework amid the pandemic.
Here are some expert ideas:
- Limit your exposure to COVID-19 related news: The more you watch the news or read social media posts on coronavirus, the more you get anxious and distracted. Get verifiable facts from the WHO website or trusted government sources. These will reduce panic and give you ample time to complete your homework without losing focus.
- Adhering to the coronavirus prevention protocols: By following the laid down measures, you will not have to start doubting yourself when completing your homework. For instance, if you washed your hands, avoided physical contact, and wore your mask all day while in school, you would not have to fear the risk of exposure to the virus.
- Staying calm and composed: It is essential to focus your mind on the homework rather than the mere gossip you’ve heard all day long concerning the virus. A calm and composed mind will focus on the need of the hour, which is the homework and not any other thing.
Although the virus has ravaged the whole world in diverse ways, remaining optimistic will give you the calm mind necessary for completing your homework.
How To Stop Getting Distracted From Homework In Remote Learning
Most schools have adopted the distance learning approach, and students must complete their homework online. It comes with its fair share of distractions which may hinder effectiveness in the completion of tasks.
However, you can put off homework distractions in remote learning with the following tactics:
- Avoid visiting unnecessary sites: When conducting your research online, refrain from visiting places such as YouTube or Netflix to check the latest music or movies. Doing this will help you focus on the assignment at hand.
- Make sure that your laptop accessories are working: These include the laptop charger, mouse, or keyboard. When all these are in perfect condition, you will complete your homework online with ease.
- Have a stable internet connection: Remote learning depends on internet connectivity, and any interference on this can bring overwhelming frustrations on the part of the student. That is why you have to ensure that you have the proper bandwidth for completing your assignment online.
- Avoid the temptation of browsing outside the homework scope: While online, you might remember a particular fact or feature you wanted to Google during the day. It will only serve to take your focus away from the homework. Stick to your homework scope and do not deviate.
- Avoid social media sites as plague: You might think to yourself, ‘let me see what people are talking about on Twitter for two minutes, then come back to my assignment.’ The two minutes can end up being two hours. Social media sites have a way of attracting you and making your stay there all day long.
With the advancements in technology, computers can now know your preferences and automatically present to you what you like. Clicking on a link or visiting a site that is irrelevant to your homework will distract your attention. If possible, block any ads that may pop up in your remote learning course, as this may make you lose focus.
Final Words On How To Focus On Homework
We have seen the necessity of homework, some of the distractions, and how to handle them. Remember that homework, just like any other assignment in class, requires your maximum attentiveness. In some institutions, task amounts to the final grades, making it necessary to handle it with utmost precision.
Perhaps you have tried any of the expert tips above and still failed to focus; we are here to offer you quality homework assistance. You will find suggestions on how to focus on homework and experts who can help you complete those tedious homework problems.
Are you aspiring to score an A+ with professional writing help? We are here for you! Let us relieve you of that homework burden and give you all the time you need to socialize with your friends.
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Teaching excellence & educational innovation, creating assignments.
Here are some general suggestions and questions to consider when creating assignments. There are also many other resources in print and on the web that provide examples of interesting, discipline-specific assignment ideas.
Consider your learning objectives.
What do you want students to learn in your course? What could they do that would show you that they have learned it? To determine assignments that truly serve your course objectives, it is useful to write out your objectives in this form: I want my students to be able to ____. Use active, measurable verbs as you complete that sentence (e.g., compare theories, discuss ramifications, recommend strategies), and your learning objectives will point you towards suitable assignments.
Design assignments that are interesting and challenging.
This is the fun side of assignment design. Consider how to focus students’ thinking in ways that are creative, challenging, and motivating. Think beyond the conventional assignment type! For example, one American historian requires students to write diary entries for a hypothetical Nebraska farmwoman in the 1890s. By specifying that students’ diary entries must demonstrate the breadth of their historical knowledge (e.g., gender, economics, technology, diet, family structure), the instructor gets students to exercise their imaginations while also accomplishing the learning objectives of the course (Walvoord & Anderson, 1989, p. 25).
After creating your assignments, go back to your learning objectives and make sure there is still a good match between what you want students to learn and what you are asking them to do. If you find a mismatch, you will need to adjust either the assignments or the learning objectives. For instance, if your goal is for students to be able to analyze and evaluate texts, but your assignments only ask them to summarize texts, you would need to add an analytical and evaluative dimension to some assignments or rethink your learning objectives.
Name assignments accurately.
Students can be misled by assignments that are named inappropriately. For example, if you want students to analyze a product’s strengths and weaknesses but you call the assignment a “product description,” students may focus all their energies on the descriptive, not the critical, elements of the task. Thus, it is important to ensure that the titles of your assignments communicate their intention accurately to students.
Think about how to order your assignments so that they build skills in a logical sequence. Ideally, assignments that require the most synthesis of skills and knowledge should come later in the semester, preceded by smaller assignments that build these skills incrementally. For example, if an instructor’s final assignment is a research project that requires students to evaluate a technological solution to an environmental problem, earlier assignments should reinforce component skills, including the ability to identify and discuss key environmental issues, apply evaluative criteria, and find appropriate research sources.
Think about scheduling.
Consider your intended assignments in relation to the academic calendar and decide how they can be reasonably spaced throughout the semester, taking into account holidays and key campus events. Consider how long it will take students to complete all parts of the assignment (e.g., planning, library research, reading, coordinating groups, writing, integrating the contributions of team members, developing a presentation), and be sure to allow sufficient time between assignments.
Is the workload you have in mind reasonable for your students? Is the grading burden manageable for you? Sometimes there are ways to reduce workload (whether for you or for students) without compromising learning objectives. For example, if a primary objective in assigning a project is for students to identify an interesting engineering problem and do some preliminary research on it, it might be reasonable to require students to submit a project proposal and annotated bibliography rather than a fully developed report. If your learning objectives are clear, you will see where corners can be cut without sacrificing educational quality.
Articulate the task description clearly.
If an assignment is vague, students may interpret it any number of ways – and not necessarily how you intended. Thus, it is critical to clearly and unambiguously identify the task students are to do (e.g., design a website to help high school students locate environmental resources, create an annotated bibliography of readings on apartheid). It can be helpful to differentiate the central task (what students are supposed to produce) from other advice and information you provide in your assignment description.
Establish clear performance criteria.
Different instructors apply different criteria when grading student work, so it’s important that you clearly articulate to students what your criteria are. To do so, think about the best student work you have seen on similar tasks and try to identify the specific characteristics that made it excellent, such as clarity of thought, originality, logical organization, or use of a wide range of sources. Then identify the characteristics of the worst student work you have seen, such as shaky evidence, weak organizational structure, or lack of focus. Identifying these characteristics can help you consciously articulate the criteria you already apply. It is important to communicate these criteria to students, whether in your assignment description or as a separate rubric or scoring guide . Clearly articulated performance criteria can prevent unnecessary confusion about your expectations while also setting a high standard for students to meet.
Specify the intended audience.
Students make assumptions about the audience they are addressing in papers and presentations, which influences how they pitch their message. For example, students may assume that, since the instructor is their primary audience, they do not need to define discipline-specific terms or concepts. These assumptions may not match the instructor’s expectations. Thus, it is important on assignments to specify the intended audience http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm (e.g., undergraduates with no biology background, a potential funder who does not know engineering).
Specify the purpose of the assignment.
If students are unclear about the goals or purpose of the assignment, they may make unnecessary mistakes. For example, if students believe an assignment is focused on summarizing research as opposed to evaluating it, they may seriously miscalculate the task and put their energies in the wrong place. The same is true they think the goal of an economics problem set is to find the correct answer, rather than demonstrate a clear chain of economic reasoning. Consequently, it is important to make your objectives for the assignment clear to students.
Specify the parameters.
If you have specific parameters in mind for the assignment (e.g., length, size, formatting, citation conventions) you should be sure to specify them in your assignment description. Otherwise, students may misapply conventions and formats they learned in other courses that are not appropriate for yours.
A Checklist for Designing Assignments
Here is a set of questions you can ask yourself when creating an assignment.
- Provided a written description of the assignment (in the syllabus or in a separate document)?
- Specified the purpose of the assignment?
- Indicated the intended audience?
- Articulated the instructions in precise and unambiguous language?
- Provided information about the appropriate format and presentation (e.g., page length, typed, cover sheet, bibliography)?
- Indicated special instructions, such as a particular citation style or headings?
- Specified the due date and the consequences for missing it?
- Articulated performance criteria clearly?
- Indicated the assignment’s point value or percentage of the course grade?
- Provided students (where appropriate) with models or samples?
Adapted from the WAC Clearinghouse at http://wac.colostate.edu/intro/pop10e.cfm .
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How to Focus on School Work
Last Updated: February 7, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Emily Listmann, MA . Emily Listmann is a private tutor in San Carlos, California. She has worked as a Social Studies Teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and an SAT Prep Teacher. She received her MA in Education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education in 2014. There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 93,448 times.
Focusing on school work is vital to your success in high school and college, but it can be very hard to force yourself to focus. Between spending time with loved ones, extracurriculars, and social media, it’s difficult to pay attention to school work. However, employing attention-focusing techniques and rewarding yourself for completing assignments will help you focus on your school work and complete your assignments more quickly.
Establishing Good Work Habits
- Sometimes it might be helpful to see if your school offers tutoring, especially if you find that confusion over your homework is often why you struggle to focus on it.
- Working with a tutor will definitely help you stay on task with your school work and help improve your grades, as well.
- You can use either a physical notebook-style planner or download an app on your phone or tablet.
- Be sure to organize your planner. Using color coded tabs or sticky notes can help you keep track of your assignments work, and extracurricular schedule. For example, use blue tabs to denote upcoming assignments or tests, red tabs to show your work schedule, and yellow tabs to show your social schedule.
- If you use a physical planner, be sure to keep it neat. A chaotic-looking planner that you can't read or understand won't help you focus. Avoid scribbling out words or writing illegibly. Write neatly and be sure to write in erasable pencil or use white out to make changes to assignments written in ink.
- For example, if you have a 5 page English paper that’s due in a week, that assignment should take priority over a science project that’s due in a month. Tests should always be marked as high priority in your planner.
- Take into account how long assignments will take, as well. Think about the "big picture" of your school schedule. Instead of only focusing on what is due in the next few days, for example, take a macro view and consider what assignments are due this month. Then, as time allows, make an effort to chip away at future projects. This way, when those due dates approach, you won't have to rush and stress out over how to find the time to complete those assignments.  X Research source
- Let your parents and friends know what time blocks you have set aside for school work. Doing so can help eliminate distractions.
- If you’re a morning person, get up early, eat some breakfast, and work on assignments before school or work. If you are a night owl, then arrange for time to work before bed.
- Regardless of which time of day you choose to do your work, be sure that you’re getting enough sleep. It’s counterproductive to be sleep deprived while you try to focus on your school work.
- You can find foam earplugs at any drugstore or convenience store. Aim for earplugs with a Noise Rating Reduction (NRR) of 32 or 33, as this is the highest noise cancelling rating available over the counter.  X Research source
- If you must leave your phone on, then turn it to silent (not just vibrate) so you don’t hear any incoming calls or texts to distract you from your school work.
- Consider browser extensions that disconnect social media for you. Browser extensions like Nanny (Google Chrome) and Mac Freedom (Windows and Mac compatible) block your access to your top time-wasting websites.  X Research source
- Make sure that you set a timer or alarm clock so that your breaks are only 15 minutes. Dragging breaks out longer can derail your efforts to focus on and complete your school work.
- For example, tell yourself that you need to finish your algebra homework within an hour so that you can watch your favorite show before bed. Setting a goal with a clear reward at the end will help motivate you to stay focused on completing your work.  X Research source
Maintaining Realistic Expectations for Yourself
- For example, don’t expect that you can come home from school and spend an hour writing a quality ten page paper. Research papers take time to both write and research, so it’s unrealistic to expect to squeeze all of that work into one evening. Instead, spread your writing and research out across several days to make the project more manageable.
- Asking for their help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s their job to help you when you are struggling!
- Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast. Even if you aren’t hungry in the mornings, have some juice or pack a portable snack like an apple or a granola bar for later.
- If your doctor determines that you have this disorder, then he or she might recommend medications, dietary changes, therapy, or a combination of these to Treat ADHD .
- Don’t be ashamed of asking for help, whether it’s from a tutor, parent, counselor, or doctor. You want to be as successful as possible in school, so use every resource at your disposal. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you are diagnosed with ADHD, remember that it is a legitimate medical condition that can make focusing on school work nearly impossible. It is not a character flaw or a sign of laziness on your part. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
Things You’ll Need
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Dedicated work space
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- ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
- ↑ https://www.swarthmore.edu/writing/understanding-your-assignment
- ↑ https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/time-management-tips-online-students/
- ↑ https://www.healthyessentials.com/baby-child-solutions/how-to-focus-on-homework
- ↑ https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1333782
- ↑ https://bokcenter.harvard.edu/technology-and-student-distraction
- ↑ https://www.vu.edu.au/about-vu/news-events/study-space/6-ways-to-avoid-social-media-distraction-while-learning-online
- ↑ https://www.edutopia.org/article/research-tested-benefits-breaks/
- ↑ https://positivepsychology.com/goal-setting/
- ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/focused.html
- ↑ https://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/homework/part8.html
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201812/self-care-12-ways-take-better-care-yourself
- ↑ https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/pain-you-can-get-help
About This Article
To focus on school work, start by establishing good work habits to help you stay organized and be more productive. For example, use a planner to create a schedule and set aside blocks of time to complete your school work. Remember to keep track of your assignments and their due dates in your planner, and prioritize your assignments based on importance and due date. It can also help to work in a quiet, dedicated space that's free of distractions, and don't forget to put your cell phone out of sight to help you stay focused! For tips on creating goals for your school work, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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15 Tips for Reducing Homework Stress & Completion Time
For students with adhd, consistency is key when it comes to handing in homework on time. here, solutions for succeeding at home and in the classroom..
Addressing homework problems is critical, since they are major reasons children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) fail in school. Almost every parent of a student with ADHD has been on the front lines of homework battles. Keep in mind that homework doesn’t have to be exhaustive to be effective.
The National Education Association and the Parent Teacher Association recommend 10 minutes of homework per subject per day. In other words, a sixth-grader would spend roughly 60 minutes per evening on homework. If teachers seem to be piling it on, have a friendly discussion with them. In the meantime, these strategies can help.
How to Focus on Homework with ADHD
Solutions: in the classroom.
- Post assignments on the board. Write the homework assignment in the same place on the board each day. Posting assignments to the school’s website is also helpful. Teachers and schools can also use Remind.com, which allows educators to send the assignment to parents and students, so there’s no doubt at home.
- Set aside time each day for students to copy homework assignments in their planners. If attention or language deficits make copying hard for a student, ask another student to write the assignment and discreetly give it to the child. Consider allowing students to take a picture of the board using their cell phones, or e-mailing and texting parents the assignments, too.
- Appoint “row captains” Many of our children have trouble keeping assignment books, so have another student check his work. My favorite is to appoint a row captain for each row in your classroom. At the beginning of class, these designated “leaders” should collect completed homework. At the end of class, they should check to see that homework assignments have been written down by each student in their row.
[ Get This Download: Homework Ideas That Work ]
- Develop a plan which ensures that completed homework returns to school. Talk with the parents of those students who consistently forget to bring their homework to school, and help them develop a plan for getting it there. Suggest that they purchase color-coded folders for all completed work. They can check to make sure homework is completed, is put in the appropriate folder, and is packed in the book bag for the next day.
- Assign the right amount of homework. Some students with ADD work slowly and become easily frustrated. Assigning only the odd-numbered math problems lets a child demonstrate what he has learned without pushing him too hard. By assigning homework that is neither too difficult nor too time-consuming, teachers increase the likelihood that it will be completed.
- Send parents a list of suggestions for productive homework sessions. Parents want to help their child but sometimes don’t know what to do. Two strategies you might mention: 1) establish a set homework time with input from the student; 2) find a quiet location that has good lighting and a clear work space with access to paper, pencils, and a computer.
Solutions: at Home
- Make a plan for tracking homework assignments . Encourage your child to write every assignment in his daily planner. One high school senior wrote his assignments on 3 x 5 cards, pre-printed with the names of his courses, that he stored in his jeans pocket.As a backup, see whether assignments are also posted on a school website or app. Get contact information for a student in each class who would know the assignments.
[ Click to Download: Homework Help for Children with ADHD ]
- Establish time for homework. Some children need a break after classes. Others work best while still in “school mode.” If after-school activities make a regular schedule impossible, post a weekly calendar that lists homework start and finish times.
- Ask the teacher about assignment routines. The math teacher may say, “I assign algebra homework four nights a week, and give a test at the end of each chapter — roughly every two weeks.” This tells you that something is amiss if your child says he doesn’t have any math homework two nights in a row.
- Schedule a five-minute break for every 20 minutes of work. Short, frequent breaks help children with ADHD recharge.
- Respect your child’s “saturation point.” If he’s too tired or frustrated to finish his homework, let him stop. Write a note to the teacher explaining that he did as much as he could. If he has problems focusing, writes slowly, or needs extra time to understand concepts, assignments will consistently take longer than they should.
- Talk with the teacher. If homework sessions are often emotionally exhausting, work with the teacher” to determine whether assignments are too long or are too difficult for your child.
- Consider medication for homework time. Talk with your doctor about a short-acting medication, like Ritalin, which lasts three to four hours. Taking the medication between 3 and 5 p.m. shouldn’t interfere with sleep. Most medications given earlier in the day have worn off by late afternoon. When medications are working, students stay focused, complete homework quicker, and are more likely to remember the material they studied.
- Monitor your child’s progress with a daily or weekly report. Daily and weekly reports from a teacher warn parents when their child is in danger of failing and in need of more supervision at home. The reports help you and your child identify missing homework assignments, so you can find them and get them to the teacher. Younger children need more frequent feedback, so a daily report may be best for them. In some cases, weekly reports may be sufficient for students in high school.
- Request an extra textbook to use at home. Students with ADHD often leave their books at school. Having access to a textbook every night is essential. Once a student with ADHD falls behind, it is difficult to catch up. Since many schools have only one set of books for each student, you may have to purchase extra copies.
[ Download This: 10 Solutions for Disorganization at School ]
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17 Useful Tips On How To Stay Focused On Homework In 2023
Do you want to focus on homework but don’t know how to do that? Don’t worry! Here in this blog, we have provided brilliant tips on how to stay focused on homework that will help you to focus on school work.
Doing homework can be frustrating and time-consuming for many students because when students come home from school they feel tired. Teachers give them a lot of homework to complete and they have to complete their homework.
But it is difficult for them to focus on homework because they want to hang out with their friends. If you are one of them, then don’t worry! You can focus on your homework and also go outside for hanging out with your friends.
But for this, you should try to keep all the distraction devices away from you until you need them because they can distract your attention. You should also do your homework in a quiet place where you can stay away from distractions. For example, don’t choose your room with a TV to do homework because it can distract you to watch it.
Read this blog to know the best and most brilliant tips. With the help of these tips, you can focus on your homework and complete it on time.
How to stay focused on homework
Table of Contents
How do you concentrate on your homework? How to stay focused on homework? What is the best method to finish a task? Let’s start with something simple. We’ve chosen and analyzed our top concentration tips, and here are some quick suggestions and tactics for people who wish to stay focused on their homework:
- Find ways to motivate yourself, such as taking a break after finishing a paragraph of an essay.
- Stay away from any kind of distraction. If your roommates make loud conversations, then stay away from them, turn off the TV and other media, seal the doors, or put on headphones. If you get hungry when you study, then keep some nutritious snacks on hand.
- Maintain a clean desk. It also helps you focus on your homework by putting your thoughts.
If you’re having difficulty focusing on your schoolwork and need immediate assistance, why not hire a professional assignment help writer to do it for you?
It is always beneficial to obtain knowledge from people who have solved this problem and achieved excellent study purposes. These tips will teach you how to concentrate on your homework regardless of whether you’re sleepy, unmotivated, depressed, sick, or have ADHD.
Make you feel comfortable.
Dress up in something you like. Outerwear will make you feel like you’re still at school in front of your professors and classmates, causing you to obsess over the events of the previous day.
When trying to concentrate on homework, many students disregard this rule and continue to wear the same clothes. You must have unique house clothing that you can wear throughout the day and at night.
Create a study plan
Successful time management is impossible without suitable preparation. Time management is usually a significant issue for students. It is the most valuable resource in the world, so be careful how you use it.
Using your computer, phone, or any device with an internet connection, look for alternative assignment calendars and clocks online. It will take minimal effort to download and set up the homework software of your choice, but having an emotional time plan will help you stay focused. You can also read Best 10 Reasons Why Is Homework Bad?
Prepare your space
Open the window if you’re studying in your room to get some fresh air. Verify that the sunlight is suitable for homework preparation. If you prefer classical composers, turn on the music. Other tunes will not work because they are likely to distract you.
Spend a few minutes addressing another issue: an unclean workplace. All you’ll need is a computer, a textbook, and some study notes. Remove any distractions from your room. Let’s suppose you can take them to your parent’s house or your living room, and then you can concentrate on your homework.
Prioritize your tasks
The capacity to prioritize your duties is another crucial skill for completing your schoolwork. Arrange your teacher’s assignments in order of importance and difficulty. Try to finish the most challenging jobs first.
However, try not to become focused on a single task. Spend a few minutes on your homework. If you are unable to complete it, move on to the next one. You’ll be able to return to the assignments you’ve missed once you’ve finished.
Use homework paper examples
Free homework paper samples on any topic are available to school students. Setting up the template that you choose will assist you in solving similar challenges in the future. Also read How To Get Answers For Homework .
Ask people around to help.
Your parents may exert control over you until you complete your schoolwork; they may know more helpful hints because they study at school. Make a study schedule with them. They should come to your room each X minutes (you decide) to check on you and see if you are working hard on your homework.
Do not seek the assistance of your younger sister or brother. Those who are older than you understand how to concentrate on homework and other care duties. They must focus on their work every day to provide you with helpful advice.
Find creative environment
It’s essential to be aware of your environment. Find a quiet place to study where you won’t be distracted and can’t concentrate on your homework. Also, ensure you have everything you’ll need to finish the assignment (pens, pencils, books, laptop, etc.), so you could focus on your education and avoid being distracted every 10 minutes. you can read this for best Places To Do Homework .
Get rid of harmful distractions.
There are numerous distractions in the environment, but the computer is the most important to avoid when working on school tasks. However, it is not always easy: one of the demands of modern education is to spend all of your time in front of a computer, which is an excellent challenge for the human brain.
Another critical issue is people attempting to connect with you on social media. You most likely have a lot of music, movies, and games on your computer. On the other hand, you don’t want to block your buddies permanently.
While you’re working, use software that will prevent access to distracting websites like social media and online gaming for several hours. Allow only a few good websites connected to your educational process to have free admission. We’re talking about online libraries and homework writing firms that can assist.
If you can’t take your eyes off your phone and keep checking Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, ban these apps while you focus on your homework at home.
Have some fun with it and leave some distractions out there.
Make sure your homework study plan includes 10-15 minute breaks, just as at school. During the holidays, you might treat yourself to some distraction. Make a list of your favorite items, make a goal based on the priorities you’ve identified.
If you prefer listening to music to reading or playing super Mario, for example, set aside 10-15 minutes during your break to do so. Classical music can even help you stay focused on your homework. Popular music with lyrics is a complete distraction. It is enough to stay away from such music.
Make a treat for yourself.
If you’re having trouble staying focused on your homework, give yourself a prize for finishing it. It could be anything, from eating some delectable dish to visiting a lovely location. This type of reward will encourage you to do the assignment more quickly.
Listen to calm music.
Music, but not just any piece, can help you concentrate better. Classical music can also aid concentration when doing homework. There are also some unique applications with personalized music playlists. You may find a piece like this on youtube, for example. Type music or concentration or music
If you’re bored with your current study location, switch it up.
A change of location might help you refocus and wake up your brain. Try switching rooms, walking outside, or doing your homework in a completely another environment (like a study room at the library). You can discover that being in a new setting makes you feel more awake and refreshed.
- Even a small change in your typical study environment can assist. Put up fresh decorations or move to the other side of the dining table, for example.
- It may appear strange, but the appropriate amount of background noise can assist concentration! One of the reasons some people work better at coffee shops or study halls is because of this.
- Organize your study supplies
It’s simpler to concentrate when your things are easily accessible. Sort your papers into folders by subject to keep track of them. Keep your writing equipment in a pencil box or desk organizer.
- Set out your food before you start studying if you like to snack as you learn.
- If you have anything in your study environment that you don’t need, clean it up or put it away before you begin working. Place completed assignments in their appropriate files and dispose of any garbage.
Pick a time when you feel awake and rested if possible.
When you’re at your best, you’ll be able to concentrate better. Perhaps you are more alert in the afternoon, evening, or even first thing in the morning, before school. If you do your work at one of those times, you’ll be able to concentrate better.
- Make doing your schoolwork at the same time every day a habit. If you’re more of an evening person, try doing it every night after dinner. Having a timetable will help you feel more in control of your work.
- Even if you can’t always pick the best time to do your schoolwork, sticking to a pattern will help you focus when it’s time to work! When you’ve decided on a time, try to stick to it.
Take a break at least once an hour.
If you have problems remembering to stop, use a timer. It isn’t easy to concentrate when you work for too long in one sitting. Spend roughly 15 minutes stretching, dancing around to music, eating a snack, or watching a hilarious video throughout your breaks.
- You can also set a timer to ensure that your brakes aren’t excessively long. Remember, the sooner you return to work, the sooner you’ll be able to complete it!
- It’s fine to take a break ahead of schedule if you’re feeling particularly restless, frustrated, or preoccupied. Allow yourself a few minutes to relax before trying again.
Fuel up with water and healthy snacks.
When you’re hungry or thirsty, it isn’t easy to concentrate and learn. While you’re working, keep a water bottle or thermos nearby and take sips if you start to feel tired or distracted. If you are hungry, have some healthy snacks on hand. Here are some good study foods:
- Slices of apple with peanut butter
- Yogurt from Greece
- Salad of fruits
- Chocolate (dark)
Use special learning tools & apps
When you know how to use your computer correctly, it may be a handy tool. To keep track of the learning process, use a homework planner or a calendar. Things like this can help you focus on your schoolwork because you’ll be aware of the timeline and essential deadlines, ensuring that you earn good scores.
It is preferable to look for excellent trackers and planners on the official android and app store. some apps assist with math homework, while others incorporate a variety of valuable features:
- Setting alarms and notifications
- Using an academic calendar to help you manage your time
- Locating appropriate music and providing helpful learning advice
- Removing all sources of distraction
- Separating homework assignments into sections, answering problems more quickly, and detailed study guides.
- Increased note-taking options in class.
To stay focused on your homework, use these fantastic apps:
- Scanner pro
- I studied pro
- Cite this for me (ex refine)
- Wolfram Alpha
16 Tips on how to concentrate on homework
- Move around or stretch while you work
- Fuel up with water and healthy snacks
- Put away anything that might make it hard to concentrate
- Block distracting apps and websites on your computer or tablet
- Work on one assignment at a time
- Break your assignments into smaller tasks
- Redirect your attention if you notice your mind wandering
- Fidget with something to help you focus.
- Turn your homework into a game to make it more fun.
- Try working with a study buddy
- Take a break at least once an hour
- Pick a time when you feel awake and rested if possible
- Study in a quiet, comfortable spot
- Move to a new study spot if you’re feeling bored
- Reward yourself with something fun when you’re done
Why can’t I concentrate on my homework?
One of the most obvious replies to this question is that you would instead go out with your friends, go to the cinemas, or do something else than study. As a result, you are unable to concentrate on your homework and continue to delay.
If this isn’t the case, there could be other factors at play.
- Distractions such as your phone, television, or friends may be present. Remove any distractions and find a spot where you can refocus on your homework. Turn on some relaxing sounds or look for music specifically designed for learning that will help you concentrate.
- Another explanation could be that you are hungry or exhausted. After that, take a nap and eat something delicious, but stay away from unhealthy snacking and overeating.
- Another cause could be that you’re overburdened with work or don’t know how to complete that particular assignment. The simplest solution is to seek expert writing aid.
- Another factor is a lack of motivation. Motivate yourself, provide a reward for completing the assignment, and concentrate on your schoolwork in this scenario.
in this blog, you have learned about how to stay focused on homework. I hope you have understood. When you’re working on school or college papers all day and night and can’t focus on your assignment, these 12 learning methods come in useful. However, such a life struggles all creativity and ambition instantly, and you must still devote time to education to obtain a promising career in the future. and also if you have a question “ I need help with my homework ” then you are in the right place. our experts provide you the best service.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Is it just me who can’t concentrate on my homework.
No, you’re not by any means alone here. Because of many factors, including stress, lack of physical exercise, poor food, environmental challenges, personal or family problems, and ADHD, more than 70% of students and workers worldwide have significant difficulties focusing on assignments and concentrating on routine activities.
Should I concentrate on my homework without taking any breaks?
Don’t spend all of your time writing essays, learning, and concentrate on assignments-make time for enjoyment and relaxation. Otherwise, your brain won’t be able to focus, and you won’t be able to begin doing school work right away—people who fall asleep every few minutes because they are unable to concentrate on their work or studies.
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Designing Assignments for Learning
The rapid shift to remote teaching and learning meant that many instructors reimagined their assessment practices. Whether adapting existing assignments or creatively designing new opportunities for their students to learn, instructors focused on helping students make meaning and demonstrate their learning outside of the traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. This resource distills the elements of assignment design that are important to carry forward as we continue to seek better ways of assessing learning and build on our innovative assignment designs.
On this page:
Rethinking traditional tests, quizzes, and exams.
- Examples from the Columbia University Classroom
- Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning
Reflect On Your Assignment Design
Connect with the ctl.
- Resources and References
Traditional assessments tend to reveal whether students can recognize, recall, or replicate what was learned out of context, and tend to focus on students providing correct responses (Wiggins, 1990). In contrast, authentic assignments, which are course assessments, engage students in higher order thinking, as they grapple with real or simulated challenges that help them prepare for their professional lives, and draw on the course knowledge learned and the skills acquired to create justifiable answers, performances or products (Wiggins, 1990). An authentic assessment provides opportunities for students to practice, consult resources, learn from feedback, and refine their performances and products accordingly (Wiggins 1990, 1998, 2014).
Authentic assignments ask students to “do” the subject with an audience in mind and apply their learning in a new situation. Examples of authentic assignments include asking students to:
- Write for a real audience (e.g., a memo, a policy brief, letter to the editor, a grant proposal, reports, building a website) and/or publication;
- Solve problem sets that have real world application;
- Design projects that address a real world problem;
- Engage in a community-partnered research project;
- Create an exhibit, performance, or conference presentation ;
- Compile and reflect on their work through a portfolio/e-portfolio.
Noteworthy elements of authentic designs are that instructors scaffold the assignment, and play an active role in preparing students for the tasks assigned, while students are intentionally asked to reflect on the process and product of their work thus building their metacognitive skills (Herrington and Oliver, 2000; Ashford-Rowe, Herrington and Brown, 2013; Frey, Schmitt, and Allen, 2012).
It’s worth noting here that authentic assessments can initially be time consuming to design, implement, and grade. They are critiqued for being challenging to use across course contexts and for grading reliability issues (Maclellan, 2004). Despite these challenges, authentic assessments are recognized as beneficial to student learning (Svinicki, 2004) as they are learner-centered (Weimer, 2013), promote academic integrity (McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, 2021; Sotiriadou et al., 2019; Schroeder, 2021) and motivate students to learn (Ambrose et al., 2010). The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning is always available to consult with faculty who are considering authentic assessment designs and to discuss challenges and affordances.
Examples from the Columbia University Classroom
Columbia instructors have experimented with alternative ways of assessing student learning from oral exams to technology-enhanced assignments. Below are a few examples of authentic assignments in various teaching contexts across Columbia University.
- E-portfolios: Statia Cook shares her experiences with an ePorfolio assignment in her co-taught Frontiers of Science course (a submission to the Voices of Hybrid and Online Teaching and Learning initiative); CUIMC use of ePortfolios ;
- Case studies: Columbia instructors have engaged their students in authentic ways through case studies drawing on the Case Consortium at Columbia University. Read and watch a faculty spotlight to learn how Professor Mary Ann Price uses the case method to place pre-med students in real-life scenarios;
- Simulations: students at CUIMC engage in simulations to develop their professional skills in The Mary & Michael Jaharis Simulation Center in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Helene Fuld Health Trust Simulation Center in the Columbia School of Nursing;
- Experiential learning: instructors have drawn on New York City as a learning laboratory such as Barnard’s NYC as Lab webpage which highlights courses that engage students in NYC;
- Design projects that address real world problems: Yevgeniy Yesilevskiy on the Engineering design projects completed using lab kits during remote learning. Watch Dr. Yesilevskiy talk about his teaching and read the Columbia News article .
- Writing assignments: Lia Marshall and her teaching associate Aparna Balasundaram reflect on their “non-disposable or renewable assignments” to prepare social work students for their professional lives as they write for a real audience; and Hannah Weaver spoke about a sandbox assignment used in her Core Literature Humanities course at the 2021 Celebration of Teaching and Learning Symposium . Watch Dr. Weaver share her experiences.
Tips for Designing Assignments for Learning
While designing an effective authentic assignment may seem like a daunting task, the following tips can be used as a starting point. See the Resources section for frameworks and tools that may be useful in this effort.
Align the assignment with your course learning objectives
Identify the kind of thinking that is important in your course, the knowledge students will apply, and the skills they will practice using through the assignment. What kind of thinking will students be asked to do for the assignment? What will students learn by completing this assignment? How will the assignment help students achieve the desired course learning outcomes? For more information on course learning objectives, see the CTL’s Course Design Essentials self-paced course and watch the video on Articulating Learning Objectives .
Identify an authentic meaning-making task
For meaning-making to occur, students need to understand the relevance of the assignment to the course and beyond (Ambrose et al., 2010). To Bean (2011) a “meaning-making” or “meaning-constructing” task has two dimensions: 1) it presents students with an authentic disciplinary problem or asks students to formulate their own problems, both of which engage them in active critical thinking, and 2) the problem is placed in “a context that gives students a role or purpose, a targeted audience, and a genre.” (Bean, 2011: 97-98).
An authentic task gives students a realistic challenge to grapple with, a role to take on that allows them to “rehearse for the complex ambiguities” of life, provides resources and supports to draw on, and requires students to justify their work and the process they used to inform their solution (Wiggins, 1990). Note that if students find an assignment interesting or relevant, they will see value in completing it.
Consider the kind of activities in the real world that use the knowledge and skills that are the focus of your course. How is this knowledge and these skills applied to answer real-world questions to solve real-world problems? (Herrington et al., 2010: 22). What do professionals or academics in your discipline do on a regular basis? What does it mean to think like a biologist, statistician, historian, social scientist? How might your assignment ask students to draw on current events, issues, or problems that relate to the course and are of interest to them? How might your assignment tap into student motivation and engage them in the kinds of thinking they can apply to better understand the world around them? (Ambrose et al., 2010).
Determine the evaluation criteria and create a rubric
To ensure equitable and consistent grading of assignments across students, make transparent the criteria you will use to evaluate student work. The criteria should focus on the knowledge and skills that are central to the assignment. Build on the criteria identified, create a rubric that makes explicit the expectations of deliverables and share this rubric with your students so they can use it as they work on the assignment. For more information on rubrics, see the CTL’s resource Incorporating Rubrics into Your Grading and Feedback Practices , and explore the Association of American Colleges & Universities VALUE Rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education).
Build in metacognition
Ask students to reflect on what and how they learned from the assignment. Help students uncover personal relevance of the assignment, find intrinsic value in their work, and deepen their motivation by asking them to reflect on their process and their assignment deliverable. Sample prompts might include: what did you learn from this assignment? How might you draw on the knowledge and skills you used on this assignment in the future? See Ambrose et al., 2010 for more strategies that support motivation and the CTL’s resource on Metacognition ).
Provide students with opportunities to practice
Design your assignment to be a learning experience and prepare students for success on the assignment. If students can reasonably expect to be successful on an assignment when they put in the required effort ,with the support and guidance of the instructor, they are more likely to engage in the behaviors necessary for learning (Ambrose et al., 2010). Ensure student success by actively teaching the knowledge and skills of the course (e.g., how to problem solve, how to write for a particular audience), modeling the desired thinking, and creating learning activities that build up to a graded assignment. Provide opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills they will need for the assignment, whether through low-stakes in-class activities or homework activities that include opportunities to receive and incorporate formative feedback. For more information on providing feedback, see the CTL resource Feedback for Learning .
Communicate about the assignment
Share the purpose, task, audience, expectations, and criteria for the assignment. Students may have expectations about assessments and how they will be graded that is informed by their prior experiences completing high-stakes assessments, so be transparent. Tell your students why you are asking them to do this assignment, what skills they will be using, how it aligns with the course learning outcomes, and why it is relevant to their learning and their professional lives (i.e., how practitioners / professionals use the knowledge and skills in your course in real world contexts and for what purposes). Finally, verify that students understand what they need to do to complete the assignment. This can be done by asking students to respond to poll questions about different parts of the assignment, a “scavenger hunt” of the assignment instructions–giving students questions to answer about the assignment and having them work in small groups to answer the questions, or by having students share back what they think is expected of them.
Plan to iterate and to keep the focus on learning
Draw on multiple sources of data to help make decisions about what changes are needed to the assignment, the assignment instructions, and/or rubric to ensure that it contributes to student learning. Explore assignment performance data. As Deandra Little reminds us: “a really good assignment, which is a really good assessment, also teaches you something or tells the instructor something. As much as it tells you what students are learning, it’s also telling you what they aren’t learning.” ( Teaching in Higher Ed podcast episode 337 ). Assignment bottlenecks–where students get stuck or struggle–can be good indicators that students need further support or opportunities to practice prior to completing an assignment. This awareness can inform teaching decisions.
Triangulate the performance data by collecting student feedback, and noting your own reflections about what worked well and what did not. Revise the assignment instructions, rubric, and teaching practices accordingly. Consider how you might better align your assignment with your course objectives and/or provide more opportunities for students to practice using the knowledge and skills that they will rely on for the assignment. Additionally, keep in mind societal, disciplinary, and technological changes as you tweak your assignments for future use.
Now is a great time to reflect on your practices and experiences with assignment design and think critically about your approach. Take a closer look at an existing assignment. Questions to consider include: What is this assignment meant to do? What purpose does it serve? Why do you ask students to do this assignment? How are they prepared to complete the assignment? Does the assignment assess the kind of learning that you really want? What would help students learn from this assignment?
Using the tips in the previous section: How can the assignment be tweaked to be more authentic and meaningful to students?
As you plan forward for post-pandemic teaching and reflect on your practices and reimagine your course design, you may find the following CTL resources helpful: Reflecting On Your Experiences with Remote Teaching , Transition to In-Person Teaching , and Course Design Support .
The Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is here to help!
For assistance with assignment design, rubric design, or any other teaching and learning need, please request a consultation by emailing [email protected] .
Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework for assignments. The TILT Examples and Resources page ( https://tilthighered.com/tiltexamplesandresources ) includes example assignments from across disciplines, as well as a transparent assignment template and a checklist for designing transparent assignments . Each emphasizes the importance of articulating to students the purpose of the assignment or activity, the what and how of the task, and specifying the criteria that will be used to assess students.
Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) offers VALUE ADD (Assignment Design and Diagnostic) tools ( https://www.aacu.org/value-add-tools ) to help with the creation of clear and effective assignments that align with the desired learning outcomes and associated VALUE rubrics (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education). VALUE ADD encourages instructors to explicitly state assignment information such as the purpose of the assignment, what skills students will be using, how it aligns with course learning outcomes, the assignment type, the audience and context for the assignment, clear evaluation criteria, desired formatting, and expectations for completion whether individual or in a group.
Villarroel et al. (2017) propose a blueprint for building authentic assessments which includes four steps: 1) consider the workplace context, 2) design the authentic assessment; 3) learn and apply standards for judgement; and 4) give feedback.
Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., & DiPietro, M. (2010). Chapter 3: What Factors Motivate Students to Learn? In How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching . Jossey-Bass.
Ashford-Rowe, K., Herrington, J., and Brown, C. (2013). Establishing the critical elements that determine authentic assessment. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 39(2), 205-222, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2013.819566 .
Bean, J.C. (2011). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom . Second Edition. Jossey-Bass.
Frey, B. B, Schmitt, V. L., and Allen, J. P. (2012). Defining Authentic Classroom Assessment. Practical Assessment, Research, and Evaluation. 17(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.7275/sxbs-0829
Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., and Oliver, R. (2010). A Guide to Authentic e-Learning . Routledge.
Herrington, J. and Oliver, R. (2000). An instructional design framework for authentic learning environments. Educational Technology Research and Development, 48(3), 23-48.
Litchfield, B. C. and Dempsey, J. V. (2015). Authentic Assessment of Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 142 (Summer 2015), 65-80.
Maclellan, E. (2004). How convincing is alternative assessment for use in higher education. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 29(3), June 2004. DOI: 10.1080/0260293042000188267
McLaughlin, L. and Ricevuto, J. (2021). Assessments in a Virtual Environment: You Won’t Need that Lockdown Browser! Faculty Focus. June 2, 2021.
Mueller, J. (2005). The Authentic Assessment Toolbox: Enhancing Student Learning through Online Faculty Development . MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. 1(1). July 2005. Mueller’s Authentic Assessment Toolbox is available online.
Schroeder, R. (2021). Vaccinate Against Cheating With Authentic Assessment . Inside Higher Ed. (February 26, 2021).
Sotiriadou, P., Logan, D., Daly, A., and Guest, R. (2019). The role of authentic assessment to preserve academic integrity and promote skills development and employability. Studies in Higher Education. 45(111), 2132-2148. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2019.1582015
Stachowiak, B. (Host). (November 25, 2020). Authentic Assignments with Deandra Little. (Episode 337). In Teaching in Higher Ed . https://teachinginhighered.com/podcast/authentic-assignments/
Svinicki, M. D. (2004). Authentic Assessment: Testing in Reality. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. 100 (Winter 2004): 23-29.
Villarroel, V., Bloxham, S, Bruna, D., Bruna, C., and Herrera-Seda, C. (2017). Authentic assessment: creating a blueprint for course design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education. 43(5), 840-854. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2017.1412396
Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice . Second Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Wiggins, G. (2014). Authenticity in assessment, (re-)defined and explained. Retrieved from https://grantwiggins.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/authenticity-in-assessment-re-defined-and-explained/
Wiggins, G. (1998). Teaching to the (Authentic) Test. Educational Leadership . April 1989. 41-47.
Wiggins, Grant (1990). The Case for Authentic Assessment . Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation , 2(2).
Wondering how AI tools might play a role in your course assignments?
See the CTL’s resource “Considerations for AI Tools in the Classroom.”
3 WAYS TO STAY FOCUSED ON YOUR ASSIGNMENT
by John Opalewski | Feb 21, 2019 | Calling , Career , Focus , Leadership , Ministry Leader , Missionary , Pastor , Productivity , Work
Assignment is such a critical word for a leader.
2 Chronicles 23:6 says “… all the other men are to guard what the Lord has assigned to them.” The apostle Paul said at the end of His life: “I’ve finished my race.”
One of the biggest challenges a leader wrestles with is staying on assignment. Much of the work presenting itself to a leader can pull him or her away from their God-given assignment.
The daily firefighting inherent in leading any organization can be distracting. It can also be intoxicating. Solving people problems, knocking out the items on your to-do list, running on adrenaline. These can bring a short term sense of accomplishment. But they often kill assignment.
Good leadership outcomes require a leader to regularly ask:
“Why did God put me on planet Earth?”
“What is my unique contribution to the organization I’m leading?”
“Am I doing on a daily basis what really matters?”
Leaders need laser focus to stay on assignment. To finish their race.
Guarding our assignment means we:
Devote our best energy times to our primary assignment
What activities move the ball down the field for you and your organization? What moves the needle for your church? Your business? And what part of the day do you have the most energy? Work on those mission-enhancing tasks during the parts of the day when you have the most juice. For me, it’s the morning hours. For some of my clients, it’s the afternoon hours. Figure out when you have the most energy and work on your highest value to-dos during that time slot.
Develop a to-do list that supports our assignment
Not everything you’re required to do as a leader is assignment-focused, in the sense it helps your organization reach its full potential. Some tasks are maintenance related . . . bookkeeping, paperwork, responding to email, etc. But too often we waste our high-energy moments working on low-value tasks.
This is where a to-do list becomes a lifesaver. I work off of two primary lists: A whiteboard list, and a weekly list that sits next to the PC in my office.
The whiteboard list is divided into four quadrants: Core values (I want to remember every day how to behave); Dreams (these are big picture items for the next few years); the current quarter’s goals (no more than 6-7 goals per quarter. These goals are mini-projects.); and the upcoming quarter’s goals.
The weekly list is built off of the dream, current, and upcoming quarters’ goal quadrants. I add client appointments to the weekly list as well.
I have been using this system for several years and it has created more focused production as opposed to just sitting down at the desk on Monday and wondering, “what should I work on first?” I plan my upcoming week on the Friday or Saturday of the previous week, so I can hit the ground running on Monday.
Deal ruthlessly with distractions
Here is where we need to take inventory, by asking ourselves several introspective questions:
What do I need to stop doing? Start doing?
Why do those “stop-doing” tasks keep showing up on my list? Why do I tend to allow the “stop-doing” tasks to take precedence over the “start-doing” tasks?
Who gets in the way of me becoming more assignment-focused?
Now, if you’re a pastor or ministry leader, people are a huge part of your assignment . If you don’t like people, ministry leadership is not for you. With that said, it’s quite possible the wrong people are monopolizing the high-energy slots of your day. Who are the wrong people? Those who have no interest in growing, changing, or contributing to the cause with their time, talent, and treasure. Who seek an audience with you not to learn and grow, but to get your stamp of approval on their choices and lifestyle. These kinds of folks can suck the life out of you. One of the biggest mistakes I made as a lead pastor was spending way too much time trying to get unfaithful followers faithful, and spending too little time with those who were faithful and on board. Be wise about who you spend your time with.
So let me ask you: what is your God-given assignment? What contributions can you alone make to the organization you lead? Are you giving your assignment the time, energy, and focus it deserves? Of course, you’ll have to tend to other tasks that aren’t assignment-centric, but don’t let them prevent you from putting your best energy into work that propels you toward finishing the race you’ve been called to run.
God won’t hold you accountable for what He hasn’t assigned to you. So guard what He has .
I’m rooting and praying for you!
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How to focus on assignment work? Best tricks through AssignmentWorkHelp
29 nov how to focus on assignment work best tricks through assignmentworkhelp.
Every assignment at homework brings new challenges with it and requires a lot of hard work and focused attention. With the number of distractions constantly increasing in our world, it has become extremely difficult to stay focused on one thing without letting The Mind wander. Here are a few tricks and tips from AssignmentWorkHelp that will help you to stay focused and get your assignments and homework done on time.
It is not very difficult to find your pattern of working which is unique for every individual. Try figuring that out and try to find out the hours where you are most productive. This will not only make staying concentrated more effortless but will also allow you to enjoy the work that you are doing and tackle the challenges and distractions in a meaningful and manageable manner. When you work on something that you like, you will not only manage the workload easily but will also stay focused for longer and be able to finish the task in a lot less time as compared to when you are forcing yourself to work and are working on strict deadlines. In this article, we present to you some of the tried and tested tips that will help you to correct and increase your dwindling attention span and will also allow you to eliminate distractions by paying attention to the task at hand.
- Be ruthless in your choices
You need to make sure that you distance yourself from anything that is not needed by you for finishing the task that you are working on. At this time you need to be ruthless with your choices and most importantly turn your cell phone off as it is the biggest source of destruction. We would even suggest turning off the internet if it is not needed by you for working on the assignment and ensure that your entire attention stays focused on the assignment and the homework that needs to be done.
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- Set the right environment
It is impossible to concentrate on assignment work when working in a very hot or very cold work environment. Room temperature falling between 68 and 77 degrees is found to be the most productive for the workers. If you cannot control the thermostat for the air conditioning, bring a fan or a sweater with you to make sure that you are snug and comfortable to work and your focus is not getting impacted because of the harsh temperature.
- Plan in advance
Before you begin working on a task it is important to calm yourself down and sit in a comfortable position while planning what all needs to be done and how you are going to approach the task. This will help you in concentrating and setting goals which will ensure that you stay on track while working on the assignment. You can also envision yourself getting things done and how you are going to accomplish the ultimate aim to keep yourself motivated.
- Break the task down
Our brain becomes overwhelmed when processing large amounts of information. Therefore, it is always suggested to break down a large project into smaller manageable tasks. For large assignments take time to identify what deserves your focus for the year, for the month, for the week, and for the day. Then look at your calendar and block time dedicated to focus. This will not only make the process of goal setting easier for you but will also make it more convenient to accomplish the task and plan the entire event around these smaller tasks.
- Wear headphones
You can drain the background noises with the music of your choice and if you find it difficult to concentrate on the work with music you can simply put the headphones on to make sure that nobody disturbs you while working. People are less likely to try to talk to you if you are wearing the headphone as it narrows down your sense of space and will also ensure that you stay focused on the task that is lying right in front of you.
- Develop a reward system
Setting up a personal reward system for the completion of a task requires a lot of willpower and advance planning. However, you can take the help of technology and numerous apps available online for this. The rewards can vary from one person to the other and maybe in the form of food, drinks, off time or a music entertainment break. However, make sure that your work period does not get affected by it and your back to work at the decided time schedule. Short bursts of hard work followed by quick breaks can be more beneficial than never taking a breather, since the brain may just burn out.
- Get caffeinated
Some people swear by tea or coffee when they have to work on a task that requires them to be more alert. Coffee is not just a morning drink that helps you wake up, it also allows you to stay attentive. If you feel your attention levels dropping down again in the afternoon, a run to the coffee shop might help you in getting back your focus. However, you should know that caffeine does not contribute in any way towards improving your memory performance on learning abilities and it will only enhance your physiological arousal which will decrease the chances of you getting distracted and allow you to pay better attention to the task that demands it.
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How to focus well on Assignments?
- August 2, 2021
- Academic Help , Assignment help , Assignment Writing Service , Education , informative blogs , Tips
Do you also find it hard to complete your assignments on time? Are you also someone who likes to spend more time on other activities; instead of studies? Or are you occupied with other tasks after coming home from school? Well, here in this blog, we have provided some tips for you that will help you complete your assignments on time and understand what has been taught at school.
Completing assignments before the deadline can be quite daunting at times for students. But as soon as you develop an interest for the subject, you’d stop procrastinating, and it would be more helpful for you to work. The plus point here is that these tips will help secure you a bright future, and you’ll make your parents proud someday.
As per our experts, we don’t recommend you to study all day and night; instead, you should also focus on your extra-curricular activities and playtime so that you can have fun in equal ratios. You can also take a 5-minute break in every 25 minutes of your work, as this keeps you going for long hours. The following tips will surely help you focus well on your assignments and projects.
Make a proper timetable
In order to work efficiently, plan all your activities as per their significance so that you can allot equal participation in other activities. It will also help you in managing your time for all activities. You can even plan a holiday in between, as this helps increase your concentration level and boosts confidence.
Arrange your study space
You should have your own study space so that you can focus well on your studies. You can even find some fancy things to decorate your desk or relate it with your career goals for enhanced motivation. You can also use a foldable study table and chair that is totally comfortable and supports your back. However, avoid studying on bed or sofa as this increases the chance of falling asleep early and places where you are surrounded with gadgets. Keep yourself away from television, video games and mobile phones, as these are mere distractions while studying.
Keep your eatables and water near you
You can always take a break from study and enjoy having a snack in that time period, as proper rest helps maintain focus. You must also keep a water bottle and glass near you during studies for undivided attention. However, keep these things at a little distance from your study space to avoid the chances of spilling water and ruining things.
Maintain your focus
Turn off all the gadgets while studying. Electronics like television, mobile phones, computers, video games and laptops must be kept away from you when you are studying and use only when required. Always keep your family and friends informed about your study hours so that you can study peacefully with great dedication and focus. Choose those hours of study from your daily routine, where you can focus well on learning and could dedicate the most out of your studies.
Finish your assignments on time
To finish your assignments and homework on time, start from the most difficult part and then go to the easy part. So that in the end when you feel exhausted, you must have something easy to do. Check your homework daily and tick off that work that gets done.
Hope that these tips were useful and can help you secure good grades in academics. So, use them well and share them with your friends so that they can also succeed in their lives as you. Apart from this, if you ever need help regarding your academic assignments or projects , feel free to contact our online assignment writing services for professional help and guidance.
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Disney drops part of its lawsuit against DeSantis to focus on free speech claims
By Samantha Delouya, CNN
(CNN) — Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has amended its lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his hand-picked oversight board, dropping all of its claims except one.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, now focuses solely on the claim that DeSantis and his allies allegedly weaponized their political power to retaliate against the company for exercising its First Amendment right to free speech.
“A targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit is part of an ongoing conflict between Disney, one of Florida’s largest taxpayers and employers, and DeSantis. Tensions rose last year after Disney spoke out against a bill championed by DeSantis that banned certain instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida classrooms, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics. The bill passed and DeSantis signed it into law in March 2022 .
The amended lawsuit claims that DeSantis has illegally punished the company since it spoke out. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for DeSantis pointed to a motion filed by his team last month that said Disney “effectively concedes” many of the claims it made in its initial lawsuit.
A representative for DeSantis on Thursday pointed CNN to this passage in that month-ago filing: “The Governor welcomes Disney’s surrender on all of its claims challenging his legislative acts. As for the claims Disney continues to press, Disney lacks standing to sue the Governor for those actions.”
Disney initially filed its lawsuit against DeSantis, a 2024 Republican presidential hopeful, in April, after DeSantis appointed a board made up of his political allies to oversee the special taxing district that contains Walt Disney World Resort. In May, the oversight board voted to file its own lawsuit against Disney to maintain its control of the district.
While Disney’s claims of contract and due process violations regarding its special taxing district have been dropped from the federal lawsuit, those issues will still be heard in the separate state court lawsuit filed by DeSantis’ oversight board.
The amended lawsuit comes less than one month after DeSantis encouraged Disney to drop its lawsuit in an interview with CNBC. “They’re gonna lose that lawsuit,” he said.
The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.
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