It seems like this is what every undergrad accepts as their destiny for that 2 week span. When you are new at university and you see everyone do it, it just seems like the right thing to do, despite being flawed in so many ways. Maybe it sounds cool to say “I’ve been up 24 hours straight prepping for this bio exam!” or maybe you just don’t know how else to approach it when it comes to the soul-destroying 24+ hour cram fests, they are mostly ineffective – and the worst part is that its self-inflicted pain.
You see, it seems all sanity goes out the window when exam schedules show up, and classes get out. It’s like they say “Good luck, see you for those two exams on Saturday, and don’t kill yourself”
Well, I did the all night study binges, sacrificing my health and sanity, sleeping curled up on a lounge chair somewhere on campus from 6AM-8AM, then studying till my 3 hour exam at 9ANm and saw little to no increase in marks given the effort put in. On top of that, after such a debacle my internal clock was totally messed up, which would take two or three days to fix.
What to do to pass exam successfully?
The year after I decided I couldn’t continue like this. I work hard to maintain a decent diet, don’t drink often, hit the gym 3-4 times a week, and a lot of it was going to waste during the exam period. There was NOTHING good coming from this type of prioritization, and scheduling . No improvement in grades. Not maintaining the body I built up for myself. Weak stress coping.
Efficient Daily Exam Prep Schedule For Maximum GPA Increase
Here was the new exam study schedule I came up with. This is how I planned my days
8:30AM – Alarm, eat, and change,
9:30AM – Gym for one hour. That’s in, workout, shower, and out. All in roughly 1 hour.
10:30AM – Begin studying.
11:30AM – 20 minute break
11:50AM – Continue studying
12:50PM – Lunch for 20min
1:10PM – Continue studying
(Note that another popular way to do this is alternating 20 minute study blocks with 2-5 minute breaks. I just find this better for me, so consider what you think will work better for you)
On and on – one hour straight studying, 20 minute break.
Alternate this throughout the day until about 10PM, at which point I finish up for the day. If you feel really tired and need to nap, take a QUICK 20MIN POWER NAP. Set your alarm and get up right away.
Yes, hit the gym in the morning to give yourself that boost of energy so you don’t lag. I need music while I study so I set a 1hr playlist of sexy jazz beats and let it go so I don’t use an excuse like “I need different music”. TV is always off, I ignore my phone for the most part, and I do this sitting at a desk, not in bed or a comfortable chair.
I find the 20min breaks are an outlet for retarded stuff like checking internet stuff, watching an episode of whatever I’m following at the moment, etc. But by having a STRICT 1 hour study block, I get stuff done BEFORE I reward myself with indulgence in less important things.
The point this system made for me was this.
I can study 9 hours from 9PM-6AM and totally obliterate my inner rhythm – or I can study 8 hours from 11AM to 9PM, actually be alert, eat a proper meal, hit the gym and schedule regular intervals to recharge my mental muscles.
The choice is obvious as far as I am concerned. If you already have a balanced productive schedule, keep with it. Study smarter, study more efficiently and leave the macho ‘I-stayed-up-26-hours-straight-to-get-ready-for-this-exam’ nonsense to those willing to give up health.