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Concentration problems

Do you have concentration problems? You're not alone! Many students experience problems with their concentration. This is not surprising since it is precisely during your studies that your ability to concentrate is put to great use. To be able to focus well, some primary conditions must be met.
What is it? 

Many students experience problems with their concentration. This is not surprising, since it is precisely during your studies that your ability to concentrate is put to great use. To be able to concentrate well, it is important that a number of basic conditions are met. Both physically, i.e. that you get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy diet and drink enough water, but also practically, i.e. that the space around you is quiet, tidy and light and that there are few distractions, for instance from ambient noise or notifications on your phone or laptop. And mentally, because during periods when you have a lot on your mind it is hard to focus. This can feel like stress, and that's right, actually you are overloaded, there are too many things demanding your attention. As a result, if you can't give everything the attention it needs, tension rises and so you feel tense and stressed. It is good to take this into account with yourself. In times of stress, you are less taxable and will be less able to concentrate. This affects everyone from time to time and is (hopefully) temporary. 


When you have difficulty concentrating, you notice that it is difficult to focus on a task for an extended period of time. As a result, you may start putting off starting tasks to avoid failing to complete them. You may also find that you 'wander off', suddenly finding yourself scrolling on your phone or watching Youtube again, when you really wanted to work on school. This has to do with the fact that stronger stimuli (such as from social media) are better at attracting and holding your attention than the stimuli you experience when reading a long scientific article. 

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What can you do yourself? 

As described, it is important that some basic conditions are met, physically, practically and mentally.

  • A good sleep pattern and sleep hygiene;
  • Fatigue is the most common cause of concentration problems;
  • A healthy diet and drinking enough water;
  • Avoid 'sugar dips’.
  • A quiet workplace, where you can work undisturbed, preferably a different place from where you also relax. With sufficient (daytime) light, to keep your brain awake;
  • Sometimes noise-cancelling headphones can be useful
  • Have a pen and paper nearby. As soon as you think of something that distracts you, write it down so you can work on it later;
  • Breathing exercises or mindfulness can help;
  • However, sometimes concentration problems have a long-term nature, and it may make sense to seek help. For example, if you have had problems concentrating all your life, you may have attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD or ADD). This diagnosis falls under developmental disorders, meaning it has been present from a young age. To diagnose it, an extensive examination is needed, often within a psychology practice or mental health institution, and for this, you need a referral letter from your general practitioner. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment usually follows, consisting of medication and coaching.

Self-learning module

With your Fontys account, you can make free use of online self-help modules (e-health). Check out the modules related to concentration problems below.

Concentration & procrastination

Do you find yourself struggling to concentrate? Are you an expert procrastinator? This module is full of information, exercises, videos and useful tips to improve your concentration and master your procrastination! 

Go to the self-learning module

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Could you use some more resilience? Do you sometimes wonder why you react to setbacks in a certain way? Then take this module. In the module you will gain more insight into yourself and why you react the way you do. This is how you build resilience. And that will help you with future setbacks.

Go to the self-learning module

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Contact team Student Guidance 

  • Should you wish to be tested for AD(H)D, make an appointment with your general practitioner to request a referral letter.
  • If your concentration problems are an actual impediment to your study progress, please book an appointment with a student counselor.

Book an appointment