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Productive Study Break Ideas

Rebecca Smith | December 9, 2016

During finals week next week, the library will be packed with students studying all subjects to ace their exams. But, even though we go into a big exam week with the intention of waking up early, studying subject 1 on Monday and subject 2 on Tuesday, and only taking study breaks to shower and sleep, this tentative schedule just isn’t realistic. Our brains cannot function if we try to study 16 hours a day and then take exams the same or the next day. Here are a few study break ideas that will not make you feel like you are wasting time.

Exercise—As a person who doesn’t enjoy exercising much, I would likely try to talk myself out of being active by saying “I don’t have time!” But exercise releases chemicals that sharpen focus, increase productivity, and improve memory—all things a student studying for an exam would want! With the IBC Fitness Center a short walk away, even jogging on the treadmill for half an hour can help you get more studying done for the rest for the rest of the day.


running rught now



Make a healthy snack—When we get busy and stressed, it is common to eat a lot of very unhealthy foods or to not eat at all. To make sure your body is in tip-top shape to take your exams, keep yourself hydrated and fed. Some healthy (and yummy) snack ideas include: apple slices with peanut butter, carrots with hummus, pretzels, and string cheese.


Take a power nap—After studying for hours on end, your brain is sure to be exhausted even if your body isn’t. To refresh your brain (and help yourself focus), try taking a power nap! The first step to napping is determining how long you want to nap: 20-30 minutes is best for a boost of energy, 45-50 minutes is optimal to help with memorization, and 75-90 minutes is prime to elevate your ability to make connections between ideas. Step two of napping is to nap. This is simple enough to do. Just put your head down anywhere and fall asleep. Step three of napping is arguably the most important—WAKE UP. Set an alarm before you fall asleep to make sure you get up. You’ll be upset if you wake up from your nap 4 hours later and realize you’ve slept the day away. 


Hang out with friends—When everyone is stressing out and studying, it helps to have human connections that understand what you are going through. Plan some time to talk with your friends—after all, you won’t see them for a month after finals week!