Finals Week: The long-awaited end and the surprising truth about “all-nighters”

Brittany Cooper
Assistant Editor

photoAfter months of exams, essays, labs and book reports, the semester is finally winding down to a close. Sleigh bells are jingling, frost is hindering the morning commute, and Macy’s is having unbelievable deals on denim, but the time to celebrate is not yet upon us. First, we must survive the dreaded, long, painful week that is.. Finals.

Finals are arguable the worst part of the semester. They test your knowledge,  your patience, and even more-so, your sanity. No one comes off easy during final exams, but everyone has their secrets to how they survive the hellish week. Education major, Michelle Smith said, “During finals I spend most nights studying until 4am or later, take a power nap, and run to class. It’s brutal.” Many students are familiar with this study practice, the dreaded “all-nighter.” While it may seem the most time intensive  way to get in those last minute study sessions, experts say it could be less effective than you think.

Dr. Lynn Marran, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California, stated, “Students who overstudy and deprive themselves of sleep, tend to score lower on finals than those who maintain regular schedules, eat properly, and study more efficiently.” You read that correctly, students tend to score lower when pulling an all-nighter. How could this be? There is a Wikihow article titled “17 ways to pull an all-nighter”, so the plan must be full-proof! Sadly, this typical go-to study method is not as great as we would hope. In fact, you are better off studying less and sleeping more, so that your brain can process and better absorb the information you have fed it. So instead of staying up all night chugging red bulls and inhaling cheetos between bouts of sobbing, try to start studying a little sooner. Tell your boyfriend to get off your couch and go home, and get to work before the finale of The Voice airs, so that you can rest well and recharge before having all of that last minute found knowledge put to the test.

Finals week is designed to be challenging, but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Look at those cumulative exams as more of a test of time management skills, rather than the fearsome gatekeeper standing between you and the rest of your life. Take everything in stride, plan ahead, and avoid those all-nighters when possible. Experts suggest that eating a good breakfast, exercising and sleeping (yes, sleeping) for at least 8 hours, can help you make better grades than just studying until your alarm scares you out of your semi-conscious, 5 hour energy induced hysteria.

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