Study breaks can benefit you during exam week

Thursday, December 12, 2019 Study breaks can benefit you during exam week

Woman studying for exams with a laptop computer.

Cramming for final exams has been a rite of passage for generations of college students. Even with the best-laid plans or intentions, the last-minute cram is not uncommon. That doesn’t mean you should keep your nose in the books all day and night. In fact, that can diminish the quality of your study session and your well-being. Periodic breaks help you stay focused and alert.

How often should you take a break?

According to this article, every 50 to 90 minutes you should break from the concentrated focus of studying or work. Take five minutes for every 25 minutes you were studying.

What should you do during the break?

Give yourself some variety during each break and include these factors:

1. Get physical. Move your body to relieve your joints and increase blood circulation.

2. Be social. Meet with a friend or call a family member.

3. Free your mind. Stop concentrating about the subject you are studying.

4. Ditch the screen. Shift your eyes away from your computer, phone or tablet.

5. Stay hydrated. Water is your ally for staying healthy and alert.

Ideas for study breaks

30 minutes or less
  • Power nap for 10 to 20 minutes. Studies suggest this is the optimal length to increase alertness without the groggy side effects of longer sleep sessions.
  • Go to the rec rooms in your residence hall or Nebraska Unions for billiards and game activities (You don’t have to be good to have fun).
  • Impromptu dance party or a group smoothie break in your apartment.
  • Briskly walk outside for 20 to 30 minutes. Your body will feel renewed with fresh air and movement.
  • Create and enjoy a good snack. Carrots and hummus, celery and peanut butter, almonds, or yogurt are a good and easy choice.
  • Walk & talk with friends to the Nebraska Union to enjoy a coffee or hot chocolate from Starbucks.

    1 hour
  • Yoga class (or a workout) at the campus rec centers. Classes are free during finals week.
  • Create a social hour with friends. Gelato Bar in Abel Dining Center, the Dairy Store at East Campus and the Dessert Bar in Cather Dining Center are destinations for a quick escape on campus.
  • Browse the art exhibits in the Sheldon Museum of Art. “Intersecting Identities” and “Sheldon Treasures” are two special exhibits currently showing until the end of the month.
  • Bake a batch of brownies with this quick & simple recipe.

    2 hours (or more)

    A break of two or more hours is easier to accommodate when you have multiple days between exams.

  • Watch the critically-acclaimed South Korean film Parasite at the Ross Media Arts Center.
  • Rock climbing in the Outdoor Adventures Center.
  • Serve and give back in the community. Good Neighbor Center, Toys for Tots at the Center for People in Need, Habitat Restore, and Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach all need helpers before the holidays in Lincoln.
  • Stream a film on the RHA Movie Channel in your residence hall.
  • Sleep for 8 or more hours. Deep restful sleep improves your mood and your productivity.

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