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Page Description: DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES: A KEY TO SUCCESS AT CSUN

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Do I Need To Take A Break?

Yes, of course you do and you don’t need other students to tell you that. Sometimes, when you run into difficulty with an assignment or project and don't know how to proceed, your brain needs a rest. As one student remarked, "If I get frustrated --- or if I get tired--I take a break, because you're not that efficient when you feel like that. You have to know when to stop."

There are different types of breaks: taking 10 minutes to get a snack or a drink, a good night's sleep, attending an extra-curricular event on campus, participating in family activities, taking the night off because there is a concert you really want to attend. The most important thing is to take enough time off from the difficult assignment or project to be able to return to it refreshed and relaxed. Of course, if you have left this to the very last possible minute and the project is due at 8 a.m. the next morning…
One student reports, "I think it’s necessary (to take breaks). Because I like basketball and I still play...it's kind of a way to like clear your head. If when I'm studying and like I'm cramming and I can't focus anymore, I'll go play basketball. And then I'll come back, and then that break lets you get ready and prepared to learn more. So I think it’s good to have the balance of each (studying and breaks)."

Said another, "Well I'm not all work all the time…. I'm not up until the wee hours of the morning or anything, but I do take breaks. They're not long breaks; maybe an hour or so. Usually I hang out with a friend or two, just sitting around relaxing. I'm sure there’s some rhyme to it or something I've heard—but you know you work really hard, you take a break, and usually it comes back easier than it was before…. Especially when I was working, and I'm still kind of thinking about it (school) in the back of my mind and then once I go back to the books, I'm like 'Oh, this is because of that.' It's a lot easier for me."

As you will have noted from the above comments and suggestions, college students approach learning in various ways. This means that not all of the strategies described will work for everyone. Hopefully, however, you have been able to identify a few that might work for you.