As much as you want your child to study all day long, a non-stop study session isn’t the most effective way to go about it. Especially for students in their HSC years at school. These exams require a deep understanding and practical expertise of the selected coursework. Thus, as research suggests, each study session should be accompanied by multiple breaks for enhanced learning and results.


What Is HSC?

The final years 11 and 12 constitute the HSC years for students of New South Wales. While year 11 is considered a preparatory period, different evaluations of year 12 make up the final HSC marks. The result is an average of school assessment marks and examination scores. HSC provides a comprehensive look at students’ academic achievement through performance bands. While the exams test theoretical knowledge, school assessment tests the practical skills of the students. It involves oral or written tests, assignments, projects, fieldwork etc.


Ways to Succeed at HSC

  • Understand the objective, components and other requirements of the HSC exams.
  • Students should set study goals for a target performance band and carve their strategy accordingly.
  • A solid strategy, strict study schedule, comfortable study space and plenty of academic resources can help one excel in HSC.
  • Students can join tuitions or study groups for more focused preparation.
  • Students should write and compile notes for all the subjects for in-depth studying and quick revision.
  • Students must attempt a plethora of practice tests in a mock examination environment.
  • Lots of small and long breaks should be added to the schedule to avoid stress as well as to stay physically and mentally fit.

Reasons to Take Study Breaks

  • Studying for HSC exams is quite a stressful ordeal. Students need to absorb a lot of information and retain it all for exams. Taking regular breaks can help students relieve the accumulating stress and anxiety.
  • Incessant work tires the brain and impairs our cognitive function. Students find it hard to focus on the text after studying for hours continuously. Thus, small breaks in between can help one regain their attention.
  • When our attention flickers, so does our ability to remember the studied material. Thus, a few breaks in between each study session ensures that students understand and memorise the coursework. It also leads to a higher recall rate in exams.
  • Reading or studying non-stop can be a very exhausting experience for the body. It also adversely affects students’ eyesight, posture and overall physical health. Thus, breaks can help one re-energize themselves and regain physical fitness.
  • As one learns to focus well, their level of productivity increases. Thus, breaks help students become more efficient and utilise their study time successfully.
  • Study breaks also rejuvenate the brain enough to come up with new ideas and solutions to existing problems. In essence, it makes the student more creative.
  • Lack of breaks leads to decision fatigue. Thus, plenty of well-timed breaks can help us think clearly. This, in turn, makes us more logical and helps in making wise decisions.

How Often Should You Take Study Breaks?

While MIT suggests an hour-long study session is a way to go, they also urge students to add a 10-minute break to it. Different studies claim that the brain attends to a single stimulus (study material) for 45 minutes before losing focus. As one’s attention starts wavering, the capacity to memorise also decreases. This calls for a moment to rest and revitalise. Thus, adding a break after every 30- 50-minute study session proves to be beneficial.


How Long Should a Study Break Be?

The ideal length of the study break depends on various factors. For instance, the subject to be studied, its difficulty level, and the time of the day determine how long should a break be. A break should begin as soon as one’s energy levels dip, and students should restart studying when they feel refreshed. Multiple short breaks are preferred over a single long one. The perfect length is usually 5–10 minutes after a short study session. This can extend to a half an hour break after a long study session. The 52/17 rule suggests a 17-minute break for complete rest after 52 minutes of focussed work. The popular Pomodoro Technique suggests a five-minute break after studying for 25 minutes, and a 20-30-minutes break or rest period after studying for 90 minutes.


What to Do During Study Breaks?

The type of break depends on the individual, their personality, style of learning and multiple other factors. For instance, for an auditory learner, listening to music will prove more relaxing than exercising or talking with friends. Here are some study break activities and things to skip in this period of time.

  • One should get some fresh air in the break to get refreshed. Even if one can’t go outside due to the weather, just cracking the window open can do wonders.
  • Students shouldn’t study a different subject or work more during the break. This can strip away all of its benefits.
  • Stretching and moving around help to re-energize the body. Sitting still for long periods of time can harm one’s physical health.
  • Drinking water or energy drinks and eating a healthy snack can help one focus better in the next study session. However, one should avoid heavy meals during the break to avoid drowsiness.
  • Social media or television should be avoided to lessen distraction. Instead, listening to music or audiobooks can keep the head clear and help one de-stress.
  • Students should avoid tasks that allow an extended period for mental breaks.
  • One can interact with friends or family to socialise in the break and to give their minds some rest.
  • Students should follow a healthy sleep cycle to maximise productivity. 7-8 hours of sleep at night is most ideal.
  • Physical activities like yoga, dancing, or Zumba can get the blood flowing and invigorate the student.
  • The break zone should be separate from the study space. This will reduce distraction when one resumes studying.
  • Deep breathing, meditation or a small nap can calm the student’s anxiety and stress.

To make the most of effective study sessions, students need to learn the correct skills and ways to study. Determining how long should you study before taking a break can revamp their learning experience. Short and frequent breaks between each study session can work wonders for students. It can amplify their academic performance and final results. Thus, it’s crucial to guide the students in the right direction. They need to acquire apt learning skills, space, and strategy to study well. You can also hire our esteemed tutors to help your child excel in the HSC exams and gain invaluable learning skills!