It’s here, the time of the year when college students from all over the country are scrambling to organize for the misery that is finals week. My gut tells me that there are some students who study weeks and months in advance to prepare, however the rest of us will have some long nights and early days in the next week or two. I know I will. If you’re a freshman, you might be asking yourself, how am I supposed to learn 10 chapters of Spanish in one day? Or how can I memorize this 15-page study guide in one night? The answer is simple: Pulling the infamous all-nighter. The all-nighter is among the most deadly weapons that a procrastinating student can use in this battle of knowledge that is “higher education.” Most of us have been there before, some of us multiple times, so what is the best way to use this weapon? Here is a list of tips that I’ve come up with during my 3 years in college.
- Study Groups – Think about it this way. Everyone in the class must complete the 10-page study guide. If 5 students all chip in, that’s only 2 pages of work for each person. Furthermore, it will give everyone more time to study what he or she needs to know instead of searching for answers.
- Caffeine – Whether your caffeine fix involves coffee, soft drinks or energy drinks, finals week is the time to use it to your advantage. Do NOT overuse caffeine if you’re panicking. My advice is study for 90 minutes, then take a short break and consume your drink of choice. Use sparingly and caffeine will be your friend.
- Take Breaks – This will ultimately slow you down, but it will help you avoid being sidetracked. I usually take a break every 90 minutes to give my brain a rest from information overload.
- Music – I like instrumental music the best during finals week. I’ve found that it’s less of a distraction and it still keeps my brain stimulated. I think it’s ultimately beneficial and helps time go by faster.
- 2 Tests to Study For? – It’s best to switch up subject every once in a while, to avoid brain drain. Try studying subject 1 for 90 minutes, taking a short break, and studying subject 2 for 90 minutes.
- Don’t Fall Asleep – This is without a doubt the most challenging part of pulling an all-nighter. Some tips on staying awake: take a cold shower, spicy foods can help, exercise will get your blood pumping again, take a smoke break, play a quick game of solitaire, make a quick phone call or talk to someone from your class about your study guide. What ever you do, DO NOT take a nap. That 10 minutes will turn into 30, which will turn into the entire night.
- Don’t Give Up – If you find yourself in an impossible studying position, just keep on moving. This can be very hard when your stress level is that high, however I have found that it is best to suffer through it. Think about it this way: do you want to go home and fall asleep, knowing that you gave up? Or do you want to study hard all night and go into the exam feeling confident?
- Forget about “I’ll finish this in the morning” – No, you wont. Especially if you are getting little to no sleep already. Think about it realistically: If you go to bed at 5 am, and have a test at 9 am, do you really think that you will wake up at 7am and do equations? It’s nearly impossible to wake up clear-headed and ready to do work after two hours of sleep.
- Try to laugh – It will keep your stress from taking over, and it will keep your brain stimulated. Try your favorite YouTube videos during breaks. Also a good way that I’ve found is to call a classmate who you know will be less prepared than you. Their progress will give you that little tiny bit of motivation needed to move on.
- Stay Confident – This is easier for some than others, but staying confident and positive about your scholastic ability will ultimately help your study session. For example, knowing that you have the confidence to do well will help your brain take in more information. It’s like knowing you’re better than someone in basketball, that confidence might just be the difference in the game.
Bonus Tip – If you’re freaking out, call your Mom or Dad. I have done this many times over the years, and it has helped me greatly. There is something about talking to my mother that helps me calm the storm and keep moving forward. Tell your Mom or Dad that you are freaking out, and ask them for advice. Their advice might not be golden, but just talking to them will help lower your stress levels.
All-nighters are technically not great for your body or mind, however sometimes you have to step up to the plate and do what you have to do, or fail. The choice is yours, choose wisely!
Good Luck Everyone.
I’m reading Economics: Principles, Problems, and Policies