Avoid the All-Nighter: 6 Tips To Studying More Effectively

Studying is personal and you have to do whatever works for you. Personally, I rewrite notes and highlight important sections while listening to the Final Fantasy VII Piano Collections and Andrés Segovia.

For other people, its reading textbooks in the library, making flashcards at Starbucks or meeting with a group in the cafeteria. Don’t wait until your senior year to find out what works best for you and once you figure it out, stick to it!

Whatever your style is, here are a few helpful hints to keep yourself in the zone.

  • In Class:

It’s really quite simple. The most effective way to ensure that you do well on a test is attend class.

  • Be There:

First off, make sure you go to class. Even if powerpoint presentations are up online, or there is a guy down the hall who you can borrow notes from, make sure you are present and accounted for. There are things that the professor might discuss that your friend down the hall did not think to write down or already had knowledge of. It is always best to go and see for yourself.

  • Limit Distractions:

You should listen attentively. That means limit distractions like your phone, iPad and computer. If you use your computer to take notes, try turning off the wifi to make sure you don’t spend class time shopping online or Facebook-stalking the person sitting next to you in class.

  • A Week Before:

Odds are that when you have an important test or exam, you will have a fair amount of warning that it is on the way. Make sure you use that warning to get ahead on your studying!

  • Manage Your Time:

The best way to avoid the dreaded all-nighter is to spread out your study time throughout the week. Even if it is just for half an hour every day before you go to sleep or between classes, you will make a huge dent in your study time, rendering the all night cramming session unnecessary.

  • Prioritize:

Another huge part of managing your time is keeping your priorities straight. One great way to make this happen is by making a list at the beginning of the week of all of the things you need to get accomplished within those next seven days. Each day look at that list and see what is most time sensitive and will make the largest difference in your grade.

  • The Night Before:

Studying throughout the week before a test or exam is the ideal situation, but sometimes cramming for a few hours will still be necessary. Those few hours can turn into an all-nighter if you aren’t careful.  Here are a few ways to make your cram sessions less painful.

  • Keep Yourself On Task:

It is way too easy to lose track of time on Facebook or a dramatic phone call with a friend. You go on Facebook to check on one message, then end up wondering where the past two hours of your life went. It is a slippery slope. My favorite way to navigate this is an application on my phone called Ships Bells. It is an app that sounds a bell automatically every hour or half hour depending on your settings. With this, I might still get distracted but at least I snap out of it after half an hour at most. Versions of this application are available for Android and Apple products.

  • Keep Moving:

Another good use of Ships Bells is as a reminder to take a break from sitting at your desk. Not only do I use those half-hour prompts to keep me from getting distracted, I use them to take a break for a minute to stretch out my neck, walk around my room and change my posture. Taking just a moment to do this every half hour keeps me much more awake and focused.

  • Sleep:

Make sure you are willing to acknowledge the point when studying is no longer effective. Sometimes you just have to trust that you know as much as you will know, and let yourself get some rest.

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Amber Bray

Amber Bray

Amber Bray is a senior at North Central College studying journalism and graphic design. Apart from her classes Amber writes a relationship advice column, along with other pieces, for the North Central Chronicle. She also writes and designs for North Central’s online magazine, The Viewfinder. Amber is a trivia fanatic and in her free time she enjoys board games, reading and writing fiction, and spending time with friends and family.