In this post we look at ways to improve your concentration for the train driver tests. Concentration is the currency for passing the train driver tests and for train driving. But what is concentration and what is the level of attention required for driving trains?


Concentration is the ability to focus all your attention. Attention is selective. So concentration is selecting an object, a task or an idea and directing all your energy (mental and physical) towards it.


Almost every thing we do or learn as human requires us to pay attention. Some activities require a high level of concentration and with others, a divided attention will do.  Train driving, conducting, and dispatching trains are safety critical so full attention is the core.


To pass the train driver tests you will be required to sit down and take a series of psychological test ranging from 10 minutes for the Group Bourdon or SCAAT and 30 minutes for the WAFV Vigilance Test.

Improving Your Concentration With Natural Techniques

1.   Meditation

It is one of the oldest forms or tools of concentration. And plays an intrinsic role why some monks and religious clerks have a calm personality.

If you ancestors were monks or religious it is possible that you may have inherited the DNA that makes it easy to concentrate. Remember, having a calm personality is one of the traits TOCs wants their staff to display in the event of an emergency.

How can you use mediation for the sole purpose of developing your attention level?

Find a room, with a chair and focus on an object, for example the door knob or the clock on the wall.  Hold your mind on the object not just your eyes for a minimum of 10 minutes.


2.   Exercise

This art make you fit and healthy. This in turn makes it easier to focus your mind and senses on a given task. Though it is possible to pay attention when you are not feeling well, the process is difficult and strain for an ailing body.

When you are exercising, fix your eyes and your mind on an imaginary point on the wall while you run on the tread mill or lift weights. Make sure that the mind does not wander off the target.


3.   Diet and hydration

Eat a balanced diet. And drink mineral fluids, preferably water to keep your neurons to an optimal level. Research has shown that dehydration has an adverse effect on our short-term memory. It also inhibits our ability focus our attention.

Blue berries, Flax seed and Fatty oils such as Omega 3 and 6 can improve your attention.


Nurturing and Enhancing Your Concentration


4.   Coffee can enhance your visual attention and reaction time.

A study in 2012 uncovered that a cup of coffee with 200mg of caffeine is as potent as a 30 minute nap.  However, caffeine can be addictive and some people may show adverse redrawal symptoms such as head aches, nerve and face twitching.


5.   Software training

There are mobile and desktop apps developed to help you boost your concentration. The group bourdon software and SCAAT can help you develop your concentration to the level required for passing the train drivers assessments.


6.   Pencil and paper training.

Sudoku and crosswords are in this category. They help you think as well as concentrate.

Group Bordon and SCAAT paper tests are in this category too. If you are taking the train driver test you will be tested on one of these, usually the Group Bourdon.

Interruptions to attention span and how to deal with it

7.   Tiredness and distraction are the main culprits.

To deal with tiredness all you need is to rest well and get some sound sleep of about eight hours. When you feel exhausted take time off what you’re doing and get a power nap of say 30 to 45 minutes. The nap is a short term strategy, though. An  8-hour sleep on the hand will help you to recover quickly for a better performance.

A mid term strategy is to take sabbatical one to two days off – abstaining from any activity that require too much thought or mundane tasks.

A long term strategy is to go on a one or two week holiday. This is vital for personal effectiveness and efficacy. And it is only recommend when you on the job and you are beginning to make silly mistakes.

Dealing with distraction requires a pragmatic approach. That means moving away from the distraction. But this is not always possible. So you may need to adapt the spider technique. With this technique you expect distractions and so you make the effort to ignore or blank them out whenever they do happen.

Implement and practise some of the techniques above and you’ll become Jedi Concentration Master – the Force that attract train companies. And they will gladly release £50,000 every year into your accounts.



Are you familiar with some of the techniques above? Which one do you like? Do you know of any concentration techniques that I have missed? Please enlighten us.




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