Life @ U of T

Study Tips: The Best Way to Study is By Taking Breaks

Forcing yourself to sit down and study can be difficult, but finding the right way to take a break from studying can be just as hard! As much as I try to have a regulated study schedule, finding motivation at a designated time has never been my strong suit. I switch between procrastinating the entire day, and then spending the following day entirely doing work. I’ll admit the following tips can be hard to stick to, however I know they’ve helped me take in more information and lower my stress levels. Here are some of my study tips!

Timing your breaks and studies: Everyone has different methods of studying, but timing my work (with actual alarms and stopwatch apps) is something I wished I’d considered doing earlier. This is something I started doing this year; giving myself a specific chunk of time to work, and then giving myself a break that is also a specific amount of time. Depending on how much I enjoy the subject (or how motivated I’m feeling that day) I plan accordingly. Here is an example:

  1. Study 1 hour
  2. Break 15 minutes
  3. Study 1 hour
  4. Break 15 minutes
  5. Etc. 

List of study plan.

The right kind of break: Sometimes I really don’t want to take a break because I’m afraid my motivation is going to slip away if I stop focusing, but in reality the human brain can’t handle non-stop studying. I’ve discovered that doing something productive during my break can keep me on track. Things like:

  • groceries
  • laundry
  • making a meal
  • exercise/going for a walk
  • showering
  • cleaning
Racoon pushing a tiny shopping cart.
From: Giphy

On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are days when all I can think of is my study break. I don’t feel motivated at all, especially not for a productive break like the sort listed above. On these days I often make the mistake of opening a social media app and end up scrolling through it for way longer than I should. I still have difficulty pulling myself away from my screen BUT I do try to keep in mind that I could do things like this instead: 

  • seeing friends
  • going to a cafe for coffee/tea/hot chocolate
Cat drinking coffee.
From: Giphy

A lot of the time people don’t realize how important study breaks are (I didn’t at least), but over the past year I’ve noticed that my stress levels are significantly lower when I manage my studying and breaks in a more structured way. Simply knowing when you have a break makes a huge mental difference! Just some food for thought.

Next week I plan to write about taking longer breaks (like making Sunday’s “no study” days, and making the best of your reading week aka not working the entire time!). 

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