Study Notes for Students | Your Key to Effective Studying

When Do I Get a Break?

Class periods are generally an hour or less in duration for a reason. Past that distractions start to nudge their way into reality. Bladder challenges, hunger pangs, stiff joints or sore muscles and just simply attention spans start to reach their limits and need addressing. The same is true with your study periods. Find out what a good study length is for you and give yourself a short break to recharge and refocus. Most often, this break schedule will loosely correspond with class length since this is what your body and mind are most used to. So if you have planned a study period of two to three hours in length at the library, you should plan to take a break about every forty-five minutes or hour to stretch your legs, refresh yourself and refocus. Limit your break to no more than fifteen minutes unless you have planned a meal break for this time. Often a soft drink or piece of fruit will be a welcome treat and serve to recharge your batteries. You may be refreshed by a quick five minute walk around the outside of the building.

Once you have had your break, return to your studies. Keep your goals in mind. If you find that you have to force yourself into a subject you just can't get excited about right then, switch to another subject or a different method of study and come back to the other subject later. Do not let temptation rear its ugly head and lead you into another activity that wastes time. You can read the newspaper or that soccer magazine or write that letter later. This is study time and is to be protected. Breaks are to help refocus your mind and recharge your study energies. Accept them as necessary parts of your study schedule and as contributors to your success.

Breaks when studying at home or in your dorm room can be used as noted above or to get rid of some of those distractions that always seem to be there. Maybe you need to throw a load of clothes in to wash or wash the dishes. Maybe you need to make your bed or clean up your room. The main thing to remember about breaks is that they are best used to give your body a chance to move around and function. You have been in a still study setting for a period of time. Your body wants to move. Your mind wants you to do things during your break that don't require its assistance. So look for those mindless things that let your body get a little movement for a few minutes. A good set of exercise is always a good idea. Then get back to your schedule.

Last Updated: 08/20/2013


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