Sunday, June 27, 2010

All-Nighters

Ah, all-nighters. Those much fabled and much maligned nights of the year (or weeks of the year, depending on who you are) that almost every serious student has been through. But is this ever increasing trend really a wise decision? I have two opinions, and the one that I adopt depends heavily on my personal situation the night before the test. More specifically, the only time that I truly believe an all-nighter will help rather than hamper your grade, is when you are convinced you have a very sub par and inadequate understanding of the material. This usually occurs when you haven't studied or paid attention in class at all, or very little, right up until the test. Think critically and decide honestly if this describes you the day before your examination. However, when you've already studied extensively, and are thoroughly confident that you'll be able to answer most of, if not all, the questions the professor will throw at you, then there really is absolutely no reason for you to stay up the entire night. Well, you might be wondering, what kind of crazy person even does that? Well, then, you'd be surprised. Some students are so paranoid about their grades that they believe they have to study every single minute up until the big day, to the point that they're almost paralyzed with guilt if they don't. Chances are you know one of these people (or are one yourself) The result? Poorer performance. Don't get me wrong. It's certainly possible to pull an all-nighter and add a few points to your test grade. But are those additional few points worth feeling like crap the entire next day, throwing off your circadian rhythm, and putting your body into sleep debt? If that's not convincing enough for you, know that your sleep deprivation will make you pay less attention during other classes, thereby indirectly hindering your performance on your next test, and leaving you with more work to do later during study days. Remember, just because all your friends are pulling all- nighters, that doesn't mean you should. Your decision should depend entirely on careful introspection (as with anything else). When deciding, remember to prioritize. For example, your train of thought should be different depending on whether the next day you have a midterm, as opposed to, let's say, a quiz that'll be dropped anyway for being your lowest grade. A general rule of thumb? All-nighters should be reserved for desperation situations only.

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