Students know how important final exams are; they could either pull up a grade, or destroy one. As spring semester nears an end, it can leave students feeling a sense of panic toward school. Tests are on the horizon and there is no place to hide. At this point, a lot of students resort to a practice many refer to as pulling an all-nighter.
There are many college students that believe all-nighters have more advantages than disadvantages, but scientists have set out to prove this thought wrong. A 2008 study by Pamela Thatcher, associate professor of Psychology at St. Lawrence University, concluded that “all-nighters impair reasoning and memory for as long as four days.” Thatcher said all-nighters not only affect the test you have the next day, but that an they can essentially ruin your performance for the rest of the week.
Dan Baker, sophomore in industrial engineering, weighed in on how he felt after his first time.
“Pulling an all-nighter the night before a final is a terrible idea,” Baker said. “I was so tired I could barely function when I took the test the next day and I didn’t do that well on it.”
Baker also agreed with Thatcher in that pulling on an all-nighter leaves almost a hangover effect.
“Pulling that all-nighter definitely took me a couple of days to recover from,” Baker said.
Mitch Striler, a sophomore majoring in management and marketing, said it is never too early to start studying for finals.
“I start studying for my finals as soon as I can,” Striler said. “If I had to guess I start studying about two weeks prior to the start of finals week.”
Jeremy Selley, sophomore in industrial engineering, said organizing was key for his preparation.
“I spend the whole weekend prior to finals week trying to organize my studying,” Selley said. “If I don’t organize, I won’t get much done.”
Sleep is also a huge deal when preparing for finals. Many people suffer from a lack of sleep during finals week and that may be why they aren’t seeing the results they would have liked to see.
Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute, said in a May 8, 2012 article for the Huffington Post titled “Don’t Skip Sleep to Score High on Finals,” college students need to get at least eight hours of sleep at night while preparing for exams.
“Sleep is an active process where the brain works to heal the body by producing hormones beneficial for repair and growth, and that sleep is also the time for the brain to consolidate memories of what we studied and learned that day,” Oexman said.
As finals week bears down on us, the hope is that these tips help motivate many students. With plenty of studying and sleep there should be no need for that all-nighter.
“Avoid (all-nighters) at all costs, put in the time and effort and your final exams will work out for you,” Striler said.