Peer Mentors Blog

Peer Mentors for First-Year Students

Is it better to pull an all-nighter or get some rest before the exam?

by Brianna Luft | Feb 24, 2014
It’s the night before the huge chemistry exam and you haven’t done any practice problems.  You walk to the student center, buy the last five energy drinks and plan on pulling an all-nighter. The study session starts off strong but as time passes you find your brain is not focusing even though your heart is racing from all the caffeine. You struggle to keep your eyes from closing and your mind on task. You find yourself accidentally dozing off only to be awoken by the alarm you set to leave for the exam.  

What are the outcomes associated with all-nighters? 

Lower grades: Sleep deprivation has been statistically linked to lower GPAs. St. Lawrence University showed that students who never pulled all-nighters had an average GPA of 3.1 which those who did averaged a 2.9 GPA. 

Less functional memory: In order for your brain to store and keep those chemistry memories safe, you need adequate sleep. With sleep deprivation your mind’s efficacy, attention span, information recall and reasoning skills are significantly decreased.
Less effective study methods: All-nighters are notorious cram sessions.  Cramming material is considerably less effective than studying a little bit each day. Studies have shown that we remember the first and last things we hear in a given time period, while the stuff in the middle gets hazy. Imagine how little your mind retains in an 8-hour cram session on no sleep!
Increased stroke risk: Healthy adults who get fewer than six hours of sleep per night are 4X more likely to suffer a stroke than their well-rested counterparts! (scary) 

As you can see, there are many downfalls associated with pulling all-nighters. Although an occasional cram session may be necessary, I suggest planning ahead and studying a little bit every day before exams. 

Good luck everyone :)

Apryl Jacobs
Doctor of Pharmacy Class 2016 
Peer Mentor Coordinator 

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