Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Studying Studying the night before an exam (not ONLY)

  1. Feb 2, 2012 #1
    This is not about cramming the night before.

    This is about continuing to study something you have been reading for weeks, in one final night of "preparation" before an exam.

    I honestly think it does me much more harm than good. Does anyone agree?

    I feel like if I get a good night's sleep, workout, relax (no video games or TV, though) the night before, I feel much better about the test the next day and perform better (this is of course assuming that I have already prepared in the days before and feel relatively comfortable.)

    However, this makes little sense in my mind. What it really feels like, is that during the test, if the problems aren't very similar to the ones I prepared for and drilled the night before, I feel a sense of despair, and I give up on the problems quicker. To add to that, I am more nervous during the test.

    If I relax the night before, when I see problems, I feel more comfortable pooling what I've learned over the entire subject matter and thinking critically about the problem.

    It's kind of hard to explain.

    Any input?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 2, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Hey 1MileCrash.

    I wouldn't stress yourself out too much. If you have done the work (which you say you have), then it's probably a matter of just reminding yourself of the areas that will be assessed and making a mental check that you know what is to be covered: so more of a reinforcement to yourself that you have done the work and can get a good nights sleep before the test.

    Also be aware that often the problems on a timed supervised test will not be like the problems you can take home for a week to work on: its not fair or feasible for someone to put that kind of problem on an exam. If it is a take home exam then thats different, but what you are describing seems to indicate that it is not.

    Remember that you can only do so much. If you have done the work, put in your best effort then that is good enough. When you are at work, people are going to be more concerned that you have the ability to learn and even more importantly have a good attitude in times of both success and crisis. Anybody can deal with success but the hardest thing for people to do is deal effectively with crisis and if you can do that and demonstrate that you can do that, then you will go very far.
  4. Feb 2, 2012 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    A big part of getting an education is learning how you learn (and how to perform on exams). It sounds like you've found a system that's working for you, so my advice would be to keep going with it until you need to change it.

    I think most people would rather prepare for exams in this way, but end up fighting the battle with procrastination along the way.
  5. Feb 2, 2012 #4
    If you find that not studying the day before the exam works for you, then you should keep doing that.

    It is also something that I always did. I made sure I knew everything very well, and the last day I just reviewed the course very quickly. I didn't try to memorize any new material because I couldn't.
  6. Feb 2, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I wish more of my students listened to the advice to get a good night's sleep the night before an exam. You need sufficient sleep for memory consolidation, and if you're more rested for an exam, you'll think more clearly and be able to reason through anything you don't know cold. The few bits of extra information you can cram the night before an exam are not worth fuzzy thinking and careless errors you'll make from being sleepy. You'll learn more and retain it longer term if you keep up with studying all along so you have very little to review the day before an exam.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook