I didn’t realize that I would need to take a nursing entrance exam until a month before the deadline. Actually, it was more like I didn’t know the deadline would be so soon, and the entrance exam was more of an obstacle than I thought it would be. This would mean that, for the next 30 days, I would need to review two years worth of classes for a four and a half hour test with four different subjects.
I ended up getting super stressed out and overwhelmed (see my previous post) near the end of it, and I took an extended, five-day-long Brain Break. Honestly, I feel that the break aided with my success with the test more than the actual studying and review did.
I never thought that not studying could help with test taking, ever, until now. I actually didn’t touch the study guide (which was more like a short textbook) once the Brain Break started until the day before my test! Once I did, I realized that I was retrieving information much quicker than I had when I was consistently studying!
I had always heard of taking breaks while studying to refresh your mind and keep you going, but taking an extended break is never really talked about, probably because most students and employees don’t feel they have time for that sort of thing.
I don’t have any articles to support my argument right now, but isn’t it common knowledge that your brain organizes and categorizes things while you sleep, and not much while you’re awake? That’s why it’s important to get a good nights sleep before a big test or interview instead of cramming or preparing. I imagine it’s like your brain is downloading all this information during the day, but it doesn’t actually install anything until you’re sleeping. Or maybe it’s more like restarting your computer after installing a new program or updating your operating system?
Anyway, I feel that resting your brain is a very easily ignored part of studying, working, and cognitive efficiency. Without proper rest, I feel that thinking and reasoning slows and becomes more difficult to achieve.
On another note, I also learned that I wasn’t properly taking brief study breaks. I would just study, then look at my phone for a few minutes on social media. My boyfriend put it this way for me, “You went from reading a textbook to reading on your phone. Your brain is still doing the same thing.” So my recommendation for brief study breaks now would be to stretch your limbs a bit, or go for a walk.