How to study when you need a study break

study skills
By Tara Z.

There is a viral video of a little boy pretending to scoop the information from a book in front of him and place it in his head. Believe me, there were many instances where I wished this feat was possible. However, after taking the countless tests in school and standardized tests for the past 17 + years, I've realized that studying doesn’t always mean sitting at a desk or overusing your eyes in front of a computer or textbook. This became very clear to me specifically when I tackled the DAT: after hours upon hours at a computer, my eyes started drooping and I would realize that I was reading the same sentence repeatedly without retaining any information. If this is happening to you, STOP STUDYING: your brain is telling you that it cannot handle any more information. Instead of reading more information, the best thing to do is consolidate what you have learned. Your brain is filled to the max!

Sometimes, you may feel like you can’t stop studying - don’t fret! Here are some tips for making progress while giving your brain a break:

1. Review concepts while doing something you like.

I found that studying in my head while doing something mindless that I liked was very refreshing. I would take walks or paint while reviewing what I learned that day in my brain. This way I would be consolidating things I have already learned without getting burnt out. 

2. Keep tricky concepts in your head and review them throughout the day.

There are always tricky topics or concepts that you can’t seem to remember. I find that throughout the day it is great to test yourself on that concept. See if you can remember it while driving, washing the dishes, showering, etc. 

3. Read!

Reading can easily help clear your mind while actually still exercising it. Feel free to read anything, but you can also read things related to the topic you are studying. This way you can stay in the ballpark for your studies without having to exhaust yourself studying! 

4. Find a study buddy.

Having a study partner can often help you see things in a different light. A study buddy can also just be there as you rant about this topic (it's nice to have someone there who understands your frustrations). 

5. Just take that break. do need to just stop studying. And there is nothing wrong with that. No one can study all day at 100% productivity. Take a small break and get back into it. You deserve it and you will benefit from it. Taking this break may surprise you, maybe the information does sort itself out in your brain. 


academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT expository writing college admissions English MD/PhD admissions GMAT LSAT GRE writing strategy chemistry physics math biology ACT graduate admissions language learning law school admissions test anxiety interview prep MBA admissions academic advice premed homework help personal statements AP exams creative writing MD career advice study schedules summer activities Common Application history test prep philosophy computer science secondary applications organic chemistry economics supplements PSAT admissions coaching grammar law statistics & probability psychology ESL research 1L CARS SSAT covid-19 legal studies logic games reading comprehension dental admissions mathematics USMLE Spanish calculus engineering parents Latin verbal reasoning DAT excel mentorship political science French Linguistics Tutoring Approaches academic integrity case coaching chinese AMCAS DO MBA coursework PhD admissions Social Advocacy admissions advice biochemistry classics diversity statement genetics geometry kinematics medical school mental health quantitative reasoning skills time management Anki English literature IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs algebra algorithms art history artificial intelligence astrophysics athletics business business skills careers cold emails data science internships letters of recommendation poetry presentations resume science social sciences software engineering study abroad tech industry trigonometry work and activities 2L 3L Academic Interest DMD EMT FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Health Professional Shortage Area Italian Lagrange multipliers London MD vs PhD MMI Montessori National Health Service Corps Pythagorean Theorem Python STEM Sentence Correction Step 2 TMDSAS Zoom acids and bases amino acids analysis essay architecture argumentative writing brain teaser campus visits cantonese capacitors capital markets cell biology central limit theorem chemical engineering chess chromatography class participation climate change clinical experience community service constitutional law consulting cover letters curriculum demonstrated interest dental school distance learning electricity and magnetism enrichment european history executive function finance first generation student freewriting fun facts functions gap year genomics harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science hybrid vehicles hydrophobic effect ideal gas law induction information sessions institutional actions integrated reasoning intern international students investing investment banking lab reports logic mandarin chinese mba mechanical engineering medical physics meiosis microeconomics mitosis music music theory neurology neuroscience office hours operating systems organization pedagogy phrase structure rules plagiarism pre-dental proofs pseudocode psych/soc quantum mechanics resistors resonance revising scholarships school selection simple linear regression slide decks sociology software stem cells stereochemistry study spots synthesis teaching technical interviews transfer typology units virtual interviews writer's block writing circles