In the height of midterm season everyone is spending hours upon days studying for their exams / projects. The question to ask is are you taking effective breaks inside your study sessions? There are many benefits to maximizing your break efforts when studying.
Studies have shown that taking regular breaks in your study routines positively affects your attention retention abilities. It is recommended that after every 90 minutes of studying, you should take a break. This can improve both your focus and attention span (think about it, the average human being has an attention span of 8 seconds). Not only will taking regular breaks affect your studying, but what you do during the breaks also affects your studying habits. If you are able to make good use of your study breaks you are able to get back to things refreshed and reenergized to get back to your books.
We also wrote an article on why you should be taking breaks and relaxing while you work. Click here to read it.
Take regular breaks. We always recommend you have a schedule or some sort of plan. However, in these plans you need to have regularly scheduled breaks. As mentioned above, after every 90 minutes of work, you should be taking a 10-15 minute break. The breaks should also be smaller length breaks more frequently rather than a bigger break after a longer period of time of studying.
It may seem that longer breaks are better if you’re studying for a longer time, but think about the fact that most people only have an attention span of 8 seconds. You’re wearing yourself out by studying for a longer period of time. Then, when you take a break after you lose the hard work you’ve done studying because your brain is tired. Don’t do this. Take shorter breaks and more frequently. It’s also a lot harder to get back into studying after a long while because it’s going to require more effort to try and get a tired brain back into working order.
STRETCH! Exaggerate saying this word when you read this.
When you’re seated for a long period of time, you build up a lot of energy. Get up and stretch. Let all the built up energy out of your body. You’ll be more relaxed and more focused afterwards. Sitting for a long time is never a good idea. This is why during the short scheduled breaks, take a minute or two and stretch your body. Studying for a long time is hard for the body especially because it can be difficult to sit still for longer periods of time.
If it’s not obvious but you should be also eating snacks and hydrating yourself while you’re working. Not only is this recommended, it’s an essential part of life. You should be feeding yourself and replenishing your water supply. Eating nutritious snacks can help you stay focused and provide energy you need for a successful study session. Keep a water bottle on your desk that is always full. Drinking water will help stay fresh and retain as much information as you possibly can.
Never study on an empty stomach. Think about it, if you’re hungry, you’re not going to be thinking about your study material. You’re going to be thinking about your hunger. It’s a natural bodily reaction. Being hungry and dehydrated while studying can have detrimental effects on your study habits and how you retain information.
When Should You Be Studying?
Create a routine for studying and strictly stick to it. When you start getting into a routine, your brain will start to become primed to working efficiently during that time. It takes 42 tries of doing something to effectively form a habit. Make sure you are sticking strictly to this study schedule because once, you’ve formed the habit, you will be studying effectively quite easily.
Distraction Free Zone
Distraction tolerance level is different for everyone. Some tips we have are that you should put on some music while studying to keep you zoned in to reading and creating the study notes. It is recommended to listen to music that isn’t too catchy to you, nothing that will take your attention away from the study materials. The ambience from music is said to keep you engaged. Another tip is to turn off notifications from our phone from social media apps. This way, you’re not getting side tracked by things that are not going to help you.
Do not have the TV on while you do homework or watch Netflix. Watching tv or Netflix are some of the biggest distraction factors out there. Do not surf the web either. Whatever you need to do, if it’s not aligned with your studies, make a note of it on the side, and come back to it after you are done studying.
Have a Plan
We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again. Make a plan for your studies. Plan out what to study and when to study it. You don’t want to go into a test forgetting to study a topic that will be present there. Don’t cram. Ever. Cramming Is the best way to make mistakes in your information retention and remember the wrong things.
If you want to read more tips on how to take the most advantage of your study time, click here.