15 Ways To Take A Study Break While Still Being Productive

15 Ways To Make Your Study Break More Productive

Okay, I can’t be the only one whose 10-minutes study break always turns into a 40-minute tv show episode on Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with giving your brain a much-needed break, especially during finals week when people are literally camping out in the library—toothbrush and pajamas and all—but the annoying part is that when you get too side-tracked, you aren’t any closer to clearing off your lengthy to-do list. Besides that, there’s more to college students than just college…we’re also interns, photographers, business owners, tutors, poets, travelers and lots of other things. College ain’t the only thing on our plate.

Personally, I feel so overwhelmed when I watch the hours tick away while my projects and assignments still sit in my planner. It doesn’t feel like I’ve done anything fulfilling, although my brain feels like it’s been working nonstop. It’s like I’ve been sitting in front of my laptop for the last four hours just staring at the friggin’ screen! Sound kinda, sorta familiar?

Instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook on your next study break, try doing these five things that will actually help you get shit done, even when your nose isn’t in the textbook.

1. Learn something new from a podcast. 

Podcasts have been becoming super popular. They’re so easy to listen to while you have a spa day in your room or cook dinner at night. Some of them are really inspirational and can help you learn about the real world. The Classy Career Girl is a great podcast for millennials who want career advice and tips for building brand awareness.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile. 

There’s no time like the present to really spiff up your LinkedIn. LinkedIn is so easy to use that fixing things up won’t take you too long. If your profile is already super hireable, look for professionals to connect with.

3. Plan the trip you’ve been dying to take. 

Well, don’t plan out every last detail, but take some time to look into plane tickets, possible hotels and activities. Create a spreadsheet to stay organized so you don’t have to re-research everything again.

4. Update your financial tracker. 

For the last month, I did an experiment where I tracked every dime I spent, and it was super eye-opening. In fact, since I stopped keeping track of my spending, it makes me nervous to not know where my money is going, so I’m going to start tracking it again. Make your own tracker if you don’t have one, or Google a printable one.

5. Look for an internship. 

The internship search is actually really exciting, and kind of relaxing, oddly enough. You’re really just browsing around for possibilities so you can easily put on some music and chill while you do this. When you find a listing, save the link in a spreadsheet so you can come back to it later.

Related: 8 Organizational Tips To Conquer Your Job Search 

6. Read the news. 

It’s especially important to remain informed in today’s society. Download news apps on your phone so you can easily read about what’s happening when you have 10 minutes to spare. Also check out my post on the Best Free Apps For College Students for more useful phone apps.

7. Continue/start reading he book you’ve been dying to pick up. 

If you’re like me, then you probably have so many books that you’ve only read halfway. Use your study break to get a little further and read a chapter or two. I also find that reading books helps me re-focus when I feel like my mind is all over the place.

Read also: 5 Easy Ways To Make More Time For Reading Books In College

8. Do yoga or a mini workout. 

YouTube is a great way to find quick workouts that you can squeeze into your day. And, if you do them regularly, you’ll actually see results. Look for a quick, five or 10-minute workout video and follow along right from the comfort of your dorm room.

9. Learn how to make something. 

Learn how to make tonight’s dinner, or tomorrow’s breakfast. If you’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy, start watching an intro video—the ideas are endless. Just think of something you’d like to learn and get started on it while you take a break from math and English.

10. Call your parents. 

You’re probably going to have to call them at some point during the day or week, so why not do it now. Parents are great for giving you advice on dealing with your full plate, helping you get your life together, and talking shit about all the people who annoyed you that week.

11. Build a new playlist for studying. 

I love listening to music while I study, and most other people do, too. If you really can’t focus on studying for your exam, build a playlist that will help you out.

Related: The Ultimate Study Session Playlist

12. Plan tomorrow’s schedule. 

Take a few minutes to think about what obligations you have tomorrow—any meetings, coffee dates, assignment that still need to be completed, etc. Add them to the calendar on your phone or to your planner so you don’t forget.

13. Email your professors thanking them for a (hopefully) great semester. 

I think it’s important to send your professors a quick message to let them know how much you appreciated their expertise this semester. You never know when you might need to hit them up for a recommendation, after all. Even if the semester wasn’t incredible, just email them to thank them for their time and knowledge.

14. Make plans to see friends one last time before the break. 

The last week is usually hectic for everyone, but if you really want to grab coffee one last time or hang out with a friend before the week is over, take some time to message people for a meetup.

15. Look for new side hustles. 

There are lots of ways to make extra money while you’re in college, but they won’t wait for you to finish your finals. If you’ve always wanted to get paid to take photos or get paid to teach people math, look for the opportunities that will help you do that.

What are your tips for being productive even when you aren’t? 

8 Pro Study Tips For Acing Your Finals

study tips for conquering finals

Cue the horror movie music and screams of terror. Finals week is here, and as much as we’d all like to just fast forward to summer vacation, we’re going to have to get past this last level. As someone who easily gets distracted by so much as a piece of string on the table, I can definitely say that studying for exams is probably my least favorite thing to do. But when you have multiple exams coming up, you really start to feel the weight of crunch time. You can’t afford those innocent, little two-hour distractions, and you don’t want to be left thinking about all the things you should have done to better prepare for your tests. Finals week is especially important if you’re a graduating senior. We all get to the moment where we say, “it is what it is at this point,” but for some, there really isn’t anymore room to say, “fuck this” and let whatever happens happen. A good grade on your finals could be the difference between a D and a B- if you haven’t been doing so well during the semester. It can also be the difference between straight A’s and that one A- to kill your 4.0 for the semester. No matter what your situation is, here are my study tips to help you conquer finals week.

1. Change up your study spot. 

We all have that one spot on campus where we can study all day long. As much as I love sitting in the couches at Starbucks under the dim lighting, with an iced white chocolate mocha in front of me, the same environment can become very mundane. Maybe the 4th floor study lounge of the math building was a little too quiet and it drove you bonkers the other day. Maybe your room was a little too warm for you to concentrate. Make things a little interesting by moving your study group to different places on campus. If you study in the library on Monday and Tuesday, try studying in a college lounge or learning center on Wednesday.

How To Ace Your Finals

2. Set a study goal for each day. 

Do you want to outline the first five chapters in your chem textbook today? Do you hope to start and finish your history class study guide? Goal-setting is a huge advantage because it helps you create a direction for your day. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have sat down knowing that I had to start doing work, but had no idea what I should get started on first. This will help things feel less overwhelming so you can get everything done — less time wasted on trying to organize yourself. In another blog post, I talk about how to create an effective study schedule, so you should definitely check that out for more tips.

3. Use highlighters. 

Forget about underlining with a boring pen or pencil. Highlighters add some color to your notes while helping the key information stand out to you better. So when you refer back to your notes later on, instead of reading every word from top to bottom your eyes will only glance over the highlighted aspects. And if you feel the need to highlight every single word in the textbook…you’re doing highlighters all wrong. Extra pro tip: create a color-coded key. Highlight vocabulary words or key terms in blue, key dates or formulas in yellow, key people in pink, and so on.

4. Come up with pneumonic devices. 

Pneumonic devices can often be clever, hilarious, and sometimes perverted, but, hey, whatever helps you remember key phrases from the textbook! I have relied heavily on pneumonic devices in the past. I also feel that they’re a more active way of reviewing information because you force yourself to think of ways to remember certain things rather than just repeating the information in your brain over and over again. What’s the silliest pneumonic device you’ve ever come up with? Let me know in the comments! 

5. Make up songs related to the material. 

When I was a Health Science major studying for my bio final, I needed to remember the Krebs cycle, but there were just so many steps to keep engrained in my mind. So, I looked up fun songs on YouTube and ended up finding the Krebs cycle sung to the tune of the infamous cup song! Mind you, it didn’t sing out every single small detail, but it helped me remember the major aspects of the cycle. Two years later, I still remember parts of the song by heart! You never know what will stick.

6. Email your TA. 

Your TA is a student just like you, and he or she was in your shoes just a year ago, so they know exactly how you feel right now. They also have the insider tips on doing well on exams. If you haven’t buddied up to your TA over the course of the semester, now would be a good time to reach out through email and start asking questions. Most TAs are extremely nice and will go out of their way to help their students. If you ask them to meet with you one-on-one, they’ll likely make the time in their own busy schedule. Your TA is a valuable resource, so make sure you actually get in touch with them before it’s too late.

How To Ace Your Finals

7. Attend the review session. 

I know your days of sitting in stuffy lecture halls are over (for this semester at least) but sometimes review sessions can help you go from confused out of your mind to on your way to getting a solid A- on that final. Attending review sessions also gives you the chance to ask your professor any last minute questions you might not have thought about before. Extra pro tip: cover at least part of the material before the review session so you can ask for clarification on anything that came across as confusing.

8. Start the day off with a positive attitude.

Finals week may be a week of sleep deprivation, but always plan to start the day off in a good mood. If you have to head to Starbucks or take a long hot shower to put a smile on your face, go for it. This will help put you in the mindset for getting work done, and you’ll feel more like you can accomplish what you set out to do. One of my favorite things to do that instantly puts me in a good mood is listening to music while I shower or brush my teeth. I also have a post on how to make your mornings more exciting if you’re interested.

What are your tips for acing your finals?