It may be your final exam week and you're not the least bit prepared for the tests. Or you may be a regular late night study student.
Sometimes even the best of students don't manage their time as well as they should, or they get too overextended to handle their workload and they are forced to do night study.
Whatever the case, if you find yourself in need of an all night study sessions, here are some survival tips to help you make the most out of the situation.
Time Management for the All Nighter:
Before you start your all night study marathon, take the time to figure out exactly what you need to accomplish, and when. Draw out an hour-by-hour schedule. Remember, you only have limited time, so make sure you make a schedule that allows you to accomplish everything--or at least as much as possible. This is especially important if you have multiple tasks to accomplish, like studying for two different exams.
Because you have time limitations, you may need to cut corners and skip tasks that aren't as important as others. For example, you may decide to not study chapters 6-10 because you don't have time, and instead focus on the more important material in chapters 1-5. Take the time to prioritize your studies. Also, it's a good idea to study the most important things early in the evening and the less important things later, in case you run out of stamina and fall asleep.
While planning your all nighter, be sure to schedule in some study breaks. These will need to be short, but be sure to schedule in at least a five-minute break for every hour. Breaks are necessary to clear your mind and relax just a bit, because otherwise the night is going to be an endless chore.
Food and Drink for the All Nighter:
Fueling yourself up with food and drink will help you stay awake and alert-- but you have to do it correctly or you may become sleepier. Here are some tips:
- Limit caffeine. Your first impulse may be to reach for a Red Bull or double espresso. Caffeine can help, but you really need to use it in moderation. After binging on caffeine, your body crashes, which means you might be in terrible shape later in the evening or during your exam.
- Limit carbs, especially sugar. Like caffeine, carbohydrates will give you an energy burst-- followed by a crash. It's tempting to pamper yourself through this long evening with a big fat brownie or something, but that's not going to help.
- Eat protein rich snacks.Protein will give you a more consistent source of energy without the crash. Try nuts, cheese, a meaty sandwich or wrap with minimal bread, or a low-sugar protein bar.
- Drink water When you work out, you need to drink water for stamina. Same with your study session.
Work Space for the All Nighter:
If one study space works for you better than others, stick with it. Study in the library if that's what works, or study at your desk. You may want to switch study spaces every so often if that helps you stay awake and focused. But whatever you do, don't get too comfortable! Studying on a bed, couch, or other cozy place where you might fall asleep is asking for trouble.
Studying with a group of fellow all night studiers can be helpful. If someone in the group drifts off, the others can give him or her a good wake-up shove. However, it's important that the group not serve as a distraction. If your group can't stay quiet and focused, go study alone.
Music can be a life saver during an all nighter. Pick some music that's loud enough to keep you awake, but calm enough to not be a distraction.
One of the important things to remember is this: remove all distractions! Turn off your cell phone and your IM. Hide your Sudoku books. Do not even think about Facebook.
Keep a Positive Attitude:
All night study sessions suck, but like everything else, they're easier if you keep things in perspective and maintain a sense of humor. It's also important to avoid beating yourself up mentally for getting into this situation. That won't do you any good, so just resolve to make the best of things. And don't panic. Yeah, you're probably not going to ace the task at hand, but if you work consistently, you probably will do well enough.
Best of luck