How Long Can A Person Concentrate When Studying?

Focus and concentration are two of the most important factors that are needed for studying.

Without these two things, studying becomes difficult and unbearable.

Most people that can’t sit down to study a book even when they have time are people that find it difficult to concentrate.

This post will therefore discuss concentration and studying so you get an idea of how it can help you in your own studies.

With that said, How long can a person concentrate when studying?

On average, a person can concentrate on studying for 30 minutes to around 2 hours. The ability to concentrate heavily depends on the person studying and what is being studied.

Complex study material will obviously require more effort and engagement which means you will have to concentrate for longer to get the basic ideas.

Simpler material can be studied easily which can result in lesser concentration and effort because of the simplicity of the material.

However there are various other factors that affect concentration when studying therefore I’ll get into some of these…

The individual

One of the things that determines how long a person can keep their concentration on studying… is the actual person studying.

Every human being is different in both weaknesses and strengths.

Some people can summon their focus with little effort while others need a lot of effort to get any productive focus.

With this in mind, studying and keeping concentration may be an uphill battle for others and may be an easy task for others.

Therefore….depending on the individual and their unique abilities to learn and stay engaged in studies, the concentration span will differ.

Purpose of study

The second factor that we have to take into account when considering how long a person would stay focused when studying is the actual purpose of studying.

The purpose of the studying is what determines the motivation behind the whole process.

If a person is studying for an upcoming test, their brain will obviously have no choice but to concentrate and try to consume as much information as it can.

However, a person studying casually for their own end may be more relaxed toward the activity. Therefore, they may not push themselves to keep an above average concentration span.

But of course. motivations behind studying are obviously wide and different, which means the effect they have on the individual will determine how long the individual can stay focused on studying.

Study space or environment

Studying is obviously not an easy task because unlike reading, studying is a more intentional form of accessing and comprehending information.

With studying, comprehension is the goal at any cost…

With casual reading however, short term comprehension may usually suffice.

Which brings me to my point.

Your study environment is a key element in determining how long you can stay focused on studying.

Your concentration when studying heavily depends upon where you’re studying from.

If you’re in a space optimized for studying, you’ll obviously be able to concentrate for longer without being easily distracted.


Another key thing that determines how long a person can keep concentration on what their studying…. is their level of interest in the study material itself.

There’s a difference in the way that you would study something you have particular interest in… and the way that you would study something you don’t have interest in.

Something that is of interest to you, will keep you hooked and focused.. So you keep track of all key details necessary for your understanding.

In this situation your concentration toward the study material will obviously be in abundance.

However, studying something you have little interest in can be draining. Keeping your concentration steady will be difficult in such situations.


Studying is obviously consuming information so you can later access it and use it whether for personal application or a test or quiz or anything.

Therefore one other factor that will affect your ability to concentrate while studying is the urgency of the situation.

For example, if you’re studying for a test you’re writing tomorrow, your brain will have to concentrate whether you like it or not because of the urgency of the situation.

However, studying for a future quiz or test can have you in a more relaxed manner. You’d basically control how much concentration you’d expend on a study session.

Mental health

Mental health issues are everywhere and are experienced by people in varying degrees.

How much concentration you can expend toward your studying  depends on your current state of mental health.

For example, somebody in a depressive state will easily get distracted by thoughts and feelings which can make it very difficult for them to keep their concentration for long while studying.

Of course there are a lot of examples that I could give but the point I’m stressing is that…your mental health affects your concentration on tasks.

If you’re in a good space mentally, you can obviously use your concentration better.

How you can sharpen concentration when studying

Below are some ways you can sharpen your concentration when studying.


Being proactive means studying when you have enough time to study and not studying last minute.

If you study last minute, you’ll fight your concentration through out.

You may soldier through but even then, your comprehension may suffer.

Which is why studying in advance and not before an assessment is a good way to study at a good pace.

The right space

Get in the right environment free of distraction so you can concentrate on what you’re studying.

Turn off that phone and only turn it back on when you’re done studying.

If you don’t have an alternative place that you can study in… then you can do well to curate your existing enviroment to make it convenient.

Turn off the TV, clean up the space, get a proper table and a chair.

Genuine motives

Your motives behind reading determine the outcome of your study sessions.

Therefore going in with the right intentions ( which should always be to comprehend what you’re about to study and be able to use the knowledge you gather) is always important.

Your motives behind studying will determine whether concentration comes out naturally or comes out with a fight.

Avoid going into studying with the wrong motives so you don’t face any concentration problems.

Concentration comes from intent and will. Intent comes from motives, will comes from your willpower to do what has to be done.

Get rid of distractions

I spoke of distractions in the second point because it can be huge contributor to the inability to concentrate.

Distractions are in all forms and are highly dependent on who you are.

Therefore, know your distractions and get rid of them so you can focus on studying.

My preferred way of cutting away distractions to stay focused is turning off my phone and laptop and concentrating on the book at hand.

Your distractions could be anything, know them and eliminate them.

This will help you maintain a good level of focus as you study.


Practice makes perfect on all fronts.

The education system trains us to study at an early age because people only get better at something through practice.

Therefore, the more you engage in studying, the more you’ll get better at it.

The more you can develop a custom way of going about your studies, the more convenient your studying will be.

In such a situation you’ll be able to hang on to your concentration for longer.

Avoid studying only when you have to.

Study everyday and it will become part of you.

Your ability to concentrate for longer will drastically improve.


Studying uses a lot of your brain power. Think of your brain like a computer.

Imagine running a program that takes up huge computing power for hours…

You’ll obviously notice your computer start to get slow because it is utilizing most of its power to keep your program running at maximum efficiency.

The same goes for your brain.

It is essentially a system designed the same way.

Studying uses up a lot of brain power which means you can easily lose concentration when you study for too long.

Therefore a good way to ensure that your brain keeps running smooth…. is taking breaks from every now and then.

This will help you maintain concentration when it’s time to get back to studying.

Lazer focus

Another great way you can keep concentration on studying for longer is by staying focused on what you have to do.

This starts with making a plan of what you want to study.

When you have a plan in place it is easier to stick to your studying and manage your concentration better.

Related Articles You Should Read

Is It Better To Study Via Books Or Computer?

Is It Better To Read In Your Head?

Should You Take Notes When Reading?

What Are Some Effective Study Strategies?

Additional Helpful Resources

Five ways science can improve your focus – BBC Worklife

The Brain Break: How to Study Smarter! | Healthy UNH

How to Stay Focused While Studying, Backed by Research – Freedom

Question: How Many Hours Can A Human Brain Study? – Expo Kingz

Attention span – Wikipedia

Your ability to focus may be limited to 4 or 5 hours a day – Washington Post

Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus – Harvard Business