When you’re studying for the SAT, you do need to take SAT study breaks. Your brain needs time to properly store the information you’ve been feeding it, and it can’t do that efficiently while you’re trying to add more stuff onto the pile. Breaks let you take care of your body’s needs between long stretches of sitting. You want the smaller breaks to be 5-15 minutes every hour and the bigger breaks 30-45 minutes once every 3-4 hours. Here are some of the best activities to make your SAT study breaks more efficient.
1. Movement (jumping jacks, squats, lunges)
Excersizing Get your blood flowing again with a quick bout of exercise! If you’re feeling a little tired, twenty-five jumping jacks, a couple of squats, or a few lunges should help restart your brain.
2. Grab a Snack
Grabbing a small snack is a great way to take a break and regain some energy! You can even take this chance to try out different SAT snacks so you know exactly what to pack the day of the SAT.
3. Do an SAT Study Break Dance
Put on a good song and just let out all the stress has been building up. Bust a move to loosen up and get out of your head. Pick something quickly, don’t put too much thought if it’s a “good enough” song, it’s just something you can jam to for a couple minutes.
4. Tidy Up
Clearing your environment helps clear your mind. You’re not going to clean your whole room on one of these breaks, just clear off some space you can feel good about. Choose a part of your space to clean and spend ten or fifteen minutes cleaning it up. Maybe you’re just getting all the clothes off your floor and into a hamper, making your bed, or putting your books back on your bookshelf. Pick something small and with a clear ending point and just stick at it until you’re finished. This is especially gratifying if you’ve hit a rough point in your study session and feel like you need to complete something.
5. Take a Walk
You’ve probably been sitting down for a while. Go on a quick walk somewhere. If you feel like you’re getting stuck in your own thoughts, a quick walk can often help you sort them out.
6. Stretch your neck, shoulders, and wrists
Often, studying puts a lot of stress on the neck, shoulders, and wrists. Take a couple of minutes to really stretch them out. Slowly shake your head “no” a couple times, fully turning your neck as far as it can go. Then nod your head up and down. Drop your shoulders down and tilt your head to the sides. Roll your shoulders, stretch your hands behind you back and try to touch them together, squeezing your shoulder blades together like you’re trying to hold a pencil between them. Roll your wrists around, and bend them all the way forward, then all the way back. That should take the edge off of any tightness or stress lurking there. If none of those work for you, a quick google search will reveal a variety of different stretches for you to try.
7. Lose yourself in some music
Like dancing, put on some music you can lose yourself in, but this time, don’t do anything. Give yourself the time to really listen to one or two songs. Don’t do anything else while you listen. What you are doing is carving out those minutes for your brain to rest and decompress.
Meditation is the trickiest SAT study break to get the hang of, but maybe the most effective once you’ve got it down. Find somewhere you can sit or lie down comfortably, set a timer for your break, and clear your mind. Thoughts might try and pop up from time to time, but you should just acknowledge them and let them go. Focus on your breathing and keeping it deep and even. Let all other thoughts float away. No future, no past, just you in your body. Try to keep it up until the timer goes off.
That’s it! We hope you’re ready to take some great SAT breaks! If you want more SAT and ACT prep advice sure to join our mailing list for a free 27-item checklist and 30-day free SAT email course.