If you’re planning on getting your High School Diploma, you already know that you’re going to have to study. You probably feel rusty—it may have been awhile since you were in the classroom. Even when you were in school, you may never have developed the study techniques that will help you to retain knowledge and tackle your High School Completions’ battery of tests. We’ve gathered some helpful tips in cultivating a study space that fuels your success rather than distracts you from it. Try implementing one or two of these ideas and you’ll see great results in your focus and information retention.

First and foremost, you’ll want to create a study space for yourself. This should be somewhere with minimal distractions where you won’t be constantly disturbed. Make sure your space is organized so that you know where to find things and so that it’s a pleasing environment to be in. Natural light or shielded full-spectrum fluorescent lights are supposed to be helpful for study purposes.

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Consider a study group. Sometimes it can be motivating, challenging, and constructive to have others involved in your studies. You can help quiz each other, you can answer one another’s questions, and it can be beneficial to your own memory and confidence to teach something to someone else. Of course, studying in company can have its downsides…if you find that your study buddies are distracting you more than they’re helping, maybe it’s time to take a break and go solo for awhile.

Take breaks! Know when enough is enough. If you’re finding your attention is starting to wane, get up and walk around. Some people swear by the Pomodoro technique where you do things in 20 minute intervals. Study for 20, take a break for 20. No matter what method you use, it’s important that you give yourself breaks when you need them. Taking a break can actually help boost your productivity in the long run. Taking time to look after yourself means that you have more focus to give to your studies when it’s time to hit the books. If you give yourself as much time to prepare as possible then you can work at memorizing things slowly, building on what you’ve already committed to memory.

Stay hydrated while you’re studying. It will help with alertness and keep your insides clean. If you really need a little pick me up, have a coffee or tea and let the caffeine take over for awhile. You might even choose to use the coffee/tea break as at reward for your dutiful studying.

Changing your studying environment up every now and again has actually been proven to be beneficial for your memory and test-taking capabilities. So don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with a change in scenery. Outside, in cafes, at home, at your local library…the possibilities are endless and you’ll challenge yourself with the different distractions that come with each location. You never know what conditions you’ll encounter in the test so it’s good to practice exposing yourself to different scenarios.

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