Dan S., MST USMLE Tutor
Couldn’t agree more regarding building in breaks. The pattern I tend to see (and the one I followed myself) is that in the beginning of dedicated it feels like you have a good amount of time, and you are more willing to take a little time off, and then the first practice test comes around a little panic sets in and you think you can do nothing but study. But really there needs to be some middle ground, both in the day to day with meals and exercise and maintaining relationships with friends/family/partners, and in the week to week with whole days or whole mornings/afternoons off. One thing I noticed is that when I wasn’t building in actual downtime, I ended up taking more unscheduled breaks during the day, but when I knew that I was going to be done at 8:00pm, and then I was going to eat dinner and meet up with a friend, I was able to stay productive up until that time. I think in general expecting more than 12h of productive studying from yourself in a day is a recipe for being physically and emotionally unwell, and for being ineffective.