Best Study Skill: A Break with a Twist

2017 – 2018 Scholarship Entry – Test Preparation Essay
Test Preparation Inc. Scholarship

Laura Douglas
Montreal, Quebec

There are countless different study habits and learning styles: some people spend hours in the library reading over notes, others create flashcards on their phone, others drink seven energy drinks and stay up all night. Some study habits are better (and healthier) than others, but in the end there are still a lot of options, and it can be hard to find the method that is right for you.
One common denominator between a lot of study advice, is that taking scheduled breaks can help keep your non-breaktime on track. Planning to take a break every 40 minutes, for 10 minutes, or for 20 minutes every hour, whatever works best for you, can help keep you focused in between. It gives you something to look forward to, and because your breaks are more frequent, you’ll be less tempted to “accidentally” let them turn into an hour of procrastination.

But there is a way to take those breaks to the next level, both in terms of their usefulness and their fun (because why shouldn’t studying be a bit of fun?).

Try making your breaks into dance breaks. Seriously. Set a timer if you need to, and every 40 minutes, take a 5 or 10 minute dance break! Put on a party jam, your favorite club song, or whatever makes you feel like moving your feet, and get up from your desk and dance around the room for 5 minutes. Shake your hair out, jump up and down, sing along even. Try to dance so hard you make yourself out of breath and get your heart pumping fast.
The dance break is an even greater strategy when you’re studying with friends—if you can all have a 5 minute dance party and laugh together, your minds will be even sharper when you return to studying.

There are a lot of reasons why this strategy actually works. You can really dance your way to success! For one thing, when you sit still at your desk for a long time, you get tired, and lose your ability to focus. Physical activity gets your blood pumping all throughout your body, including to your brain, which is pretty important for studying. It also gives you a burst of adrenaline, something else that will keep your energy levels where you need them to be. Jumping jacks, jogging on the spot, or even crunches can also have the same effect, but dancing is better. Dancing is fun, so you’re more likely to do it. Also, if you add some laughter into the mix, your mood will improve (laughing and smiling actually cause your brain to release endorphins, which make you feel happier). A better mood means greater motivation to keep studying.

A bonus reason: if you dance hard enough, at the end of a couple of songs you will want to sit down to catch your breath, so studying will be a welcome break from dancing!

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Date Published: Wednesday, July 18th, 2018
Date Modified: Thursday, July 4th, 2019

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