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Self-care Tips for a Stress-free SAT/ACT: Take a Hike

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Exercise is one of the best ways to take a break from the stress and rigors of studying for the SAT or ACT

It's not uncommon for people to be stressed leading up to an important moment. In the case of taking the SAT or ACT, the level of stress on students can be quite significant. Students study hard for these tests, sometimes to their detriment.

It's no secret that school life can be stressful. With so much pressure on students to do well, it can be tempting to stay inside and study all day. But there are many benefits of stepping outside for a break every now and then. To ensure maximum studying efficiency, students should develop a plan on how and when to take breaks from studying.

This blog will explore the benefits of getting outside for a break from studying for the SAT or ACT.

Studying Is Good, But Over-studying Is Not

Many students believe that maximum studying is the key to success. They spend hours and hours in front of their books, trying to memorize every single detail. But they forget about the importance of taking breaks and resting their brain from all the pressure. The brain works better when it gets breaks. We need breaks from studying because our brains can't focus on one thing for too long without getting tired or frustrated. After that point, studying becomes counterproductive.

The right balance of studying and taking breaks is essential as it will be easier to recall information when test-taking. That means the brain needs a break from the intensity of reading and computer screens. It is essential to take a break and go outside to get fresh air from time to time.

Take the Right Type of Break — Exercise

There are different types of breaks students can take. However, taking a break doesn’t mean ceasing reading and starting watching television or going on social media.

According to, three tips for a productive study break are:

  • Do something completely different from what you are studying

  • Help your mind feel refreshed

  • Leave your study space

At In House Test Prep, we teach students the best ways to study and take healthy breaks for optimal balance and success. To learn more about our methods, click the link below.

What Are the Health Benefits of an Exercise Break?

Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise can reduce feelings of depression and anxiety and improve self-esteem. Exercise also releases endorphins, making you feel happy and reducing your stress. Exercise also helps with weight management, boosts energy levels and improves sleep quality.

There are myriad benefits to getting some exercise on your break. You will be able to focus better on your work, have more energy when you need it, and it means you will have a better chance of doing better on the SAT or ACT.

How Often Should You Take a Break?

According to an article from Time, “The most productive workers engage in job-related tasks for 52 minutes, then take a 17-minute break.”

Take a Hike or a Walk

Hiking or walking is a great way to get exercise and fresh air. It also helps improve mental health and reduce stress. Hiking or walking provides an opportunity for students to reset and refresh, have some time alone and improve their mood. Not many students enjoy being confined to a room with their computer for hours on end, so a change of pace is most likely welcome.

Don’t Overdo It

The trick to taking a hiking break is not to overdo it. The idea is to give yourself a break, not to tire yourself out!

Don't push yourself too hard when you go hiking. If you feel tired or have a headache, stop, have some water and head back home. A brisk, 20 to 30-minute walk should be sufficient to calm you down and reset your system.

While it might seem like a chore, hiking and walking are pretty enjoyable. Walking and hiking are some of the most accessible forms of exercise, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. Hike and walk breaks don’t have to be a big commitment. Even a 10-minute walk can make a difference in your mood and energy levels.

Final Thoughts

Studying is crucial, and doing your best on the SAT/ACE is paramount, but you can’t burn yourself out before the test. What is the point of studying so hard if you’re too tired to remember any of the information correctly? Set a time for breaks and listen to your body and your brain. When you feel fatigued, take a hike. Your brain will thank you.

At In House Test Prep, we use optimal techniques, materials and programs to give students the best opportunity to achieve their goals of high marks on their SAT or ACT. Click the link below to learn more about how we prepare students for test success (including scheduling healthy breaks), and help get them into the school of their dreams.

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