Increase your study power

Increase your study power

During the busy exam period, it’s often non-stop study! But does this approach come at the cost of your wellbeing? Christina Betty and Ellie Heenan from Victoria Recreation share some tips to maximise your studying potential and look after yourself during this stressful time of year.

Ever heard of ultradian rhythms? Just like sleep patterns, we can learn to take advantage of these internal rhythms to increase our energy, awareness, and productivity. Basically, we move through alternating periods of high-frequency brain activity (about 90 minutes) followed by lower-frequency brain activity (about 20 minutes) throughout the day.

Image credit: Meme

So, what happens if we try push through this lower-frequency period, or more importantly, REST phase, like many of us do? We often burnout, crash, or get a serious case of 3.30-itis, as you trigger your body’s fight-or-flight (stress) response. This is bad news for study because you lose the ability to focus and become hyper-alert and anxious.

It’s important to take regular breaks during these lower-frequency periods in order to refocus your brain. This means your brain will be working at its peak potential, making for better study and higher retention!

So, what can you do during these 20-minute breaks? Choose something you enjoy that will wind you down, whether that’s a quick nap, a nutritious snack, or some form of movement. 

A good way to start incorporating regular breaks is to take a walking or stretching break. A lap or two around the library, walking outside to get some fresh air (the Wellington Botanic Garden is awesome), or doing a quick stretch to combat those long hours of sitting—check out the below stretch video tutorial for some ideas. Spend less time on your phone and appreciate your surroundings, especially if you are taking your break outside— be present in the moment!


Take that break one step further and add in the powerful benefits of exercise. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which helps you work more efficiently as more oxygen and nutrients are being pumped to your brain. Increased clarity = increased study power!

Exercise also releases endorphins (those ‘feel good’ hormones) so you can return to study in a better mood with a better mind set! Victoria Recreation are offering $1 entry to the Fitness Studio or any Group Exercise class over Stress-Free Study Week (10–14 June). Take the opportunity to get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing.

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Victoria Recreation’s Group Exercise classes are a great option if the Fitness Studio feels too daunting. Our trained instructors will guide you through the whole workout, whether it’s yoga, Pump, Step, Pilates, Zumba, or HIIT. This way, you don’t need to think too hard and you’ll reap all those exercise benefits—it’s a win-win! We also have free table tennis during Stress-Free Study Week, or pop into a Just Play session with some buds.

Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you break up your day with something you enjoy and soak up your new productivity, energy, and emotional levels.

Good luck for all your upcoming exams!

Christina Betty and Ellie Heenan are both Fitness and Recreation Advisers at Victoria Recreation.

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