All-nighters = bad idea

By Andrea Anastassov, Columnist

We have all been there. It’s the middle of your week, and you have about three different midterms crammed into it. It is currently 2 a.m. and you’re sitting in the study lounge with a laptop and textbook in front of you with a coffee on the side. You’ve been out and about all day, putting off studying for your tests and doing what college students do best: procrastinating.

Most times it even happens unintentionally. With classes, clubs and jobs, the day just gets away. It’s all fine until you find yourself stuck in the middle of one of the most unpleasant things a student can endure: an all-nighter.

With October beginning, it’s about that time in the fall semester that students dread: midterms. The library is packed with students, from freshmen to seniors, all trying to fill their heads with information.

It takes some trial and error to figure out what type of studying works for someone, whether that be note cards, study groups or re-reading certain parts of the textbook. There is one thing, however, that should be avoided at all costs: pulling all-nighters the night before an exam.

In the moment it may seem like the best idea, but it is not. One way to avoid this issue is to start studying for exams as early as possible. Even before all the information is covered, it is important to start studying key terms and utilizing study skills to avoid any last minute cramming. Of course, no one plans to stay up all night before an exam — sometimes it’s just a last resort — but those excuses don’t make it a good idea.

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If you try to cram weeks of information all in one night, you’ll find that it is impossible to remember all of it. It’s probably better to be well-rested and go into an exam with the information that you already know, rather than try and confuse yourself with a ton of new information.

The potential sleep lost in pulling an all-nighter is particularly damaging for students as well. The brain doesn’t work as well when you aren’t rested, and you will not be able to focus no matter how much caffeine you put into your system. Researchers studying the correlation between sleep and test scores found that students who slept at least seven hours before an exam did up to 10 percent better than students who did not sleep.

Especially as a freshman on campus, it can be hard to manage your time and figure out how exactly to study. But a midterm is not just like any other test. Midterms cover a lot of material that can’t be jammed into your head overnight. Information retention simply does not work that way. It’s a horrible idea no matter what your friends say.

A greater risk is the potential that you are so tired that you oversleep for your exam. This is the worst of the worst. At almost every test you hear about someone oversleeping and missing their exam and getting a zero; worse than any score you would have gotten even without studying. It happens, and it is a nightmare.

No matter how many people tell you that all-nighters are effective and just a part of college, they aren’t. They should be avoided at all costs. No matter how busy you are, as long as you manage your time and work ahead of schedule, you can find time to study for your exams. You’ll be better off in the long-run.

Midterms are too big of a portion of your grade in a class to blow them off or treat them like just another quiz. They are a priority and should be studied for weeks in advance.

So when your midterms roll around just remember: No amount of last-minute cramming or caffeine will make up for the sleep and study time you lost planning that all-nighter.

Andrea is a freshman in Media.

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