ASVAB Study Tips: Find the Right Place to Study

By Rod Powers

After you’ve found the time to study for the ASVAB, commit to a time and place that meets your needs. Ask yourself whether the environment in which you’re studying matches your learning style. Here are some aspects of the study environment you may need to consider:

  • Time of day: Whenever possible, schedule your most challenging courses and most intense study sessions during the time of day when you’re most alert. Some people are at their best in the morning; others don’t get rolling until late afternoon. You know how you work, so plan to study when you can give your best to it.

  • Posture and mobility: Recognizing your posture and mobility needs helps you plan where and when you should study. Some people prefer to sit at a table or desk (in a formal posture) in order to concentrate and study effectively. Others are able to learn more easily while sitting comfortably on a sofa or lying on the floor (in an informal posture).

    Still others need to move about in order to learn; reading while walking on a treadmill may be appropriate for them. Some people can sit and study for long periods of time (they have high persistence), while others need to take frequent breaks (they have low persistence).

  • Sound: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs to study in a perfectly quiet environment. If you do choose to study to music, choose baroque classical music, such as Johann Sebastian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi. The tempo and instrumentation of this music seems to be most compatible with study and learning.

    Several studies have shown that baroque music, with a 60-beats-per-minute beat pattern, activates the left and right brain. The simultaneous left- and right-brain action maximizes learning and retention of information, according to one study conducted by the Center for New Discoveries in Learning.

  • Lighting: Light does make a difference, so study in the environment that best matches your learning preferences. Studies have shown that some people become depressed because of light deprivation during the winter months. If you’re one of those people, try to study and spend as much time as possible in highly lit places.

    Other studies have shown reading ability can be affected by the light contrast between print and paper color. Black letters printed on white paper create a high contrast. Some people find have a better time reading black print on blue or gray paper, which has less contrast and is easier on their eyes.

  • Temperature: You can’t always control the temperature of a room, but you should be aware of your preference for either a cool or warm environment. Dress in layers so you can adjust to differences in room temperatures. Study in the environments in which you feel most comfortable.