Put on some music. Try it on for size. Some people find it absolutely impossible to study if there is any type of sound in the background. On the contrary, there are those learners that thrive when there is music playing as they study their lessons. If you find yourself distracted by lyrics, you can use music that has no words. Jazz, indie, electronica or folk music are great options for study music.
Pick up a bunch of snacks. Studying with flashcards, and just studying in general can be very taxing on both the body and the brain. Having snacks at arm’s length can keep your blood sugar up therefore making you more alert. You can also make your snacks a reward whenever you manage to master a certain number of flashcards or a lesson. Apples, bananas, nuts, raisins and trail mix are all great examples of study snacks. These are loaded with B vitamins and will keep your brain well-functioning and concentrated.
Find a conducive studying place. You can make the best flashcards in the world and study them all day but it will all be in vain if your studying area is not conducive for concentrating. It does not matter if you don’t have access to an entire room, so long as you have your own area or corner. It needs to be a place where you can zone out and concentrate. Feel free to personalize the area with your own decors, postcards, notes, etc. What is important is that you are comfortable with studying for an extended period of time in that space.
Get good lighting and a comfortable chair. Along with having a conducive studying area, it is essential to have good lighting and a comfortable chair. This will help your mood by leaps and bounds and get you in the right condition to study your flashcards and your other lessons.
Ensure that you have adequate ventilation. You don’t want to be in a room that is either too stuffy or where there is a draft that will distract you and keep your attention away from studying. One of the best ways to fall asleep is by cutting off your oxygen supply and obviously; you do not want this to happen! Ensure that air circulates in the room by switching on the fan or cracking a window.
Control the temperature. If you feel either too hot or too cold while studying, this will draw your attention from what you are trying to learn. If possible, control the temperature in the room where you are studying and get it a level that you are comfortable with. Otherwise, make adjustments. Turn on a fan, switch on the heater, use a blanket, drink something hot or cold, etc.
Use learning tools other than flashcards. If you own an iPhone or iPad, try downloading interactive apps that will help you learn Chinese or Japanese in a fun and engaging manner such as Scribe: Origins or Study-Chat. Take your time, learn at your own pace, and don’t forget to enjoy!