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Taking a break helps keep the brain stimulated.

Finals can be daunting, and every student is undoubtedly stressing out with finals right around the corner. Studying for finals is necessary, but taking the occasional break can be conducive to studying. Study breaks aid information retention and improve concentration when studying.

A person should plan out their studying with breaks in between. The ratio of study to break time will be different for every person, so with that in mind, a student should take a break if they’re feeling restless, or feel like their ability to concentrate and absorb information is lowering.It’s important for students to remember that there’s a difference between not wanting to study and needing a break. They shouldn’t overdo the number of breaks they take and should limit these breaks to short intervals.  

There are many things a student could do when taking a break. They could listen to a few of their favorite songs, read a book or magazine, take a quick walk or chat with friends. Students can even make their breaks productive if they do a quick workout, grab some a bite to eat or run an errand. Even switching up the subject or location can improve concentration. With this in mind, students should make sure to stay away from TV or video games during breaks because they don’t aid productivity.

Taking five while studying is important because it increases learning ability. This is because the brain can only study for so long. Scientists say that a person will stop registering constant stimulation over a gradual period of time. The brain stops paying attention because it declares the information unimportant, so studying similar information for too long makes the brain get habituated to the material. Taking a break switches up the pace for the brain. A change of location, quick walk or a snack can all help to relax the mind further. Ultimately, these breaks will aid concentration and help the learning process.

Extended studying can hinder the ability to retain information. According to the primacy/recency effect, if one is studying for 40 minutes, they’ll have two prime studying times—the first 20 minutes and the last ten. During the downtime between the prime study times, one should review what they covered in the first 20 minutes. After that session, one should take a short break, then get back to the grind.

During this finals week, everyone needs to remember to take breaks to get the best grades they can. This is a stressful time of every semester, and everyone needs to remember that taking short breaks will ultimately yield higher grades. It’s best to not forget how this last week affects all the work done throughout the semester and best of luck to everyone.

Zach Melusen is a junior communication studies major. Contact Zach at meulsezj@dukes.jmu.edu.