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Why It's Good to Study for Exams the Night Before the Big Day

Posted by Christen Barbercheck on

Students know the feeling all too well – you’ve spent all day in class, working on projects and homework in the evening and then you realize – you have that big exam tomorrow! Indeed, remembering that all-important exam at the last minute can lead to a lot of stress and not to mention cramming.

However, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Through discipline and using time management tools like our very own Time Timer, there are actually a number of reasons why studying the night before an exam can be a good idea.


Better memory retention

Healthline explains that there are numerous benefits to sleep, with one being how sleep helps strengthen your memory. Research has shown that sleeping right after learning can benefit memory retention, as well as protect against interference from external events. Keep in mind though that the benefits only extend to those who had at least six hours of sleep, meaning an all-nighter could just render you mentally drained and unable to perform the next day.

People who are sleep deprived have been found to lose the ability to access previous information and have a harder time processing new information due to fatigued neurons in the brain. In fact, Maryville University even notes newly recognized connections between mental health and learning success, and how it only serves to illustrate the link between mental clarity and educational performance. With that in consideration, it’s clear that the key to effectively studying the night before an exam is a good night’s sleep.

Some students simply learn better at night

In an article by USA Today on why studying at night is a good idea, it is explained that research from the University of Nevada-Reno shows how students tend to retain information better between 11 am to 9:30 pm, a timeframe that is much later than when many college classes would start. This has then sparked a debate on whether colleges should start their classes later, in order to adjust to their students’ body clocks and maximize learning. In fact, further research revealed that the number of students who preferred evenings outnumbered students who preferred mornings two to one.

The takeaway from this is that each student has their own personal rhythm and there is no one-size-fits-all solution for learning. If you think you learn better at a later time, it’s best to go with your gut and do what’s right for you.

How do you do it?

If you’ve decided to make the switch to studying at night, ThoughtCo has a number of handy tips on how to do it properly:

  • Make sure you have a comfortable spot. This means picking a place where you can properly prepare your learning materials and have minimal distractions.

    • Eat a nutritious meal beforehand so you won’t have to get up later to eat. It also helps to keep a few snacks nearby, but avoid anything heavy in sugar or carbs. While these can give you a quick boost of energy initially, they can quickly lead to an energy crash.

    • Use the buddy system. Have a friend or family member that can test your comprehension.

    • Use the Pomodoro technique. Break your workload down into digestible chunks, such as 25-minute study sessions segmented by short breaks. You can even use the Time Timer for this technique to stay on track.

    With the tips above, you should be ready to make the most out of nighttime studying in no time.

 

Article specially written for TimeTimer.com

By: Nancy Harriet

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