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Testing Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a lot?

  • Thread starter BPL
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BPL

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Ok, so I feel really bummed out even having to ask this question, but in all seriousness:

I have a classical mechanics final in 11 hours. It's upper division CM not like first year stuff. Anyway, I'm decently prepared. I mean, if I take it now I will certainly pass. But I want the best possible grade I can get. I feel like there are a couple areas that I definitely need more practice with. I'm pretty confident in working with the Lagrangian and doing simple oscillation problems, but I definitely need some work on rotational kinetics where the direction of the angular momentum vector is changing, and also more work with wave problems...

Anyway, I've spent all day working on my final exam for a different class (English course online, been writing essays all day). I hoped it would only take a couple hours but it took all day. So I'm presented with a few options:
1) prepare a couple hours more, sleep, do as best as i can
2) spend the night practicing problems and get super prepared, deal with lack of sleep during test
3)sleep, wake up early and practice


If you were in my situation, which route would you take? I know that (1) clearly looks the best, but I am not good at waking up, nor am I good at performing on tests immediately after waking up. I'm the type of person who does best when I've been awake for awhile. Furthermore, I'm also the type of person who is used to staying awake for 24 hours. So with those considerations, is staying up all night really as bad as people say it is?

And please don't chide me with "you should've prepared last week", it's been a seriously difficult semester and I was busy preparing for other incredibly difficult classes, e.g. complex analysis and nonlinear dynamics, that I happen to care just a little bit more about.
 
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

what strategy did u use the last time you crammed? if you got a good grade repeat it if not pick one of the others.

when all else fails toss a coin.

if u decide to stay up then write a list of topics in the course you know you dont know and do problems in those areas.
 
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

I would sleep now, wake up and study. That way, you have time to actually "wake up" before the exam, and the information will still be fresh in your mind when you take it. But your results may vary.
 
Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

I have no idea what you're studying (i'm still in high school), but if I were you I'd just go to sleep now and study in the morning.

You'd be more awake and able to work the problems, but on the other hand you need to estimate how much time you'd need to learn the material.

Honestly I don't think it would make much of a difference if you choose to study now or in the morning (but make sure you study at least SOME)
 
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

Hard to say. If you don't sleep, then your efficiency goes down, but sometimes you end up in a situation where you really are unprepared and you don't have any choice.

Furthermore, I'm also the type of person who is used to staying awake for 24 hours. So with those considerations, is staying up all night really as bad as people say it is?
The good news is that sleep loss itself doesn't have bad effects. The bad news is that sleep loss can kill mental ability, which is bad on physics tests.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsleep

Researchers that have done controlled experiments have shown that it is physically impossible to go without sleep for long periods of time. What ends up happening once people attach EEG's to people's brains is that it turns out that if you don't sleep, your brain goes into "microsleep" mode. Your brain falls asleep for a few seconds, in which you lose consciousness without realizing that you've lost consciousness.

This is a bad thing to happen in a physics test. Even worse to happen while driving.
 

BPL

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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

So how much will ~3 hrs of sleep keep these effects at bay? Is it worth the trade-off in study hours? I think anything more of significance, like 5 or 6 hours, would be fine, since that's basically a full-night for many people. I'm more curious about the short stuff, like 2-4 hours.

Hell, even 1 hour! Is 1 hour even worth it?
 

BPL

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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

I would sleep now, wake up and study. That way, you have time to actually "wake up" before the exam, and the information will still be fresh in your mind when you take it. But your results may vary.
I think I'll do this, but more like take a nap for a couple hours then go to the library and study at ~ 5am
 
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

So how much will ~3 hrs of sleep keep these effects at bay?
Over the long run, you *will* get about eight hours of sleep. There's something that sleep researchers have found. If you sleep less on one day that creates a deficit that will have to be made up eventually.

Something that has come out of sleep research is that lots of people think that they can get by without much sleep, but when put in a controlled environment, it turns out that over the long run, people don't. It turns out that people are very bad at keeping track of when they are asleep, and people also can be asleep without realizing it.

If you have to cram for a single exam, then you have to do what you have to do. However, if you have a series of exams (i.e. finals) then it's not going to end well. If you have to cram for tomorrow's exams, make sure you crash after the exams, so that you are rested for the next one.

Is it worth the trade-off in study hours?
Once you realize that you *will* get eight hours of sleep, then it all becomes a matter of short-term scheduling tactics. You aren't going to end up with more time over long periods (i.e. more than two weeks).

Hell, even 1 hour! Is 1 hour even worth it?
My guess is no. The problem is that there is a sleep cycle which lasts about two to three hours. If you cut short the sleep cycle, then you don't get the benefit of going through the cycle.

The other thing is that dreaming apparently has some function in long term memory formation.
 
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

And please don't chide me with "you should've prepared last week"
Can I chide you with "What are you doing looking for advice on the internet when you should be either studying or sleeping?" :smile:
 

jtbell

Mentor
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

So... the exam was at noon yesterday. How did it turn out? :uhh:
 
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Re: Best sleep strategy for tomorrows final exam considering I still want to study a

Well... he's probably sleeping. :)
 

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