How to Pull an All-Nighter for Your Assignments and Exams

Rushing to get all your assignments done AND study for exams? Taylorian Iffat got you covered. 

Assignment deadlines. Exams. Clubs and societies. Pulling all-nighters has become a common norm for the student leading that stereotypical university life. But I’m pretty sure that there’s much truth in this stereotype.

It’s fair to say that almost all of us have, at least once, pulled an insane night of intensive work right before the day of an important exam or an upcoming assignment deadline. As anxious as all-nighters make me, I think it’d be impossible for me to go through uni life without pulling one. So it’s time to come to terms with this fact and make the best out of what we leave ourselves with.

With exams approaching at the speed of light, here are 5 ways to optimise your all-nighters to help keep your CGPA game stronger than ever.

Create a Schedule

Even though it may seem a little too late to establish a plan, scheduling is always a good way to start. This will help you relax when you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks that need to be done. Once you’ve scheduled everything, you’ll find yourself more relaxed since you’d have a better grip on the situation. Knowing what needs to be done and having it all planned out will help you maintain your focus so your mind doesn’t keep rushing or wandering off to figure out what to do next. Make a schedule at the start of your all-nighter and fully commit to it. Then, all you’ve to do is follow the steps of your own guideline.

Selecting Important Topics

Keep in mind that it’s IMPOSSIBLE for you to cram in and comprehend ALL the topics in one night. If you plan on doing this, you might as well just go to sleep because this will not help in remembering anything that you try to shove in your brain. Go through the syllabus and make your own educated decisions regarding which topics are more important and can help you get the most marks. Here you can apply the 80/20 Principle. This concept helps you understand which topics to prioritise so you can make the most impact on your overall grade. This could also entail learning a few things from a wide range of topics or learning a few topics in depth.

Collaborate and Organise a Group Study

Studying in groups might not be for everyone but when you’re going through the pain of pulling an all-nighter, it helps to have someone to share that pain with! Morbid… but necessary. Group study sessions can be helpful in a number of ways. 

Divide amongst yourselves

Firstly, you can divide topics amongst yourselves. Say one friend takes chapters 1 through 3 to summarise and makes notes of them, another takes 4 to 6, and so on. This will cut down each of your study time and help you cover more ground in less time. 

Understand to explain

Secondly, try explaining the concepts of each topic to your friends in your own words as if you’re the lecturer. This will help you grasp the idea and learn the topics much better and quicker. When you come up with new ways of explaining a topic to someone, you’re becoming more proficient in understanding the information yourself.

Staying Organised

This is a very important step which has helped me carry out several all-nighters in my uni life. It always helps to start studying in an organised and clean study space. According to research, disorganisation and clutter have a long-term effect of stress and overwhelm on our minds. Our brain likes order. Repeated visual reminders of disorganisation causes cognitive overload and can impair working memory, making it difficult to concentrate. 

Cleaning your desk before you sit down to study will also give you a surge of motivation to get it done! Additionally, keep track of your deadlines along with your exam dates and times using a digital or physical planner so you don’t miss out the important dates.

Using the Right Approach to Study 

There are plenty of ways to study before an exam. Therefore, it’s essential that you know which is the correct one for you. It can be distracting and demotivating when you try to work like others and it doesn’t seem to work because everyone has a different way in which they absorb knowledge and learn. So, it’s best to figure out what way of study (e.g. taking notes, using flash cards, listening to audio books) suits you best before the exam season so you don’t end up experimenting the night before and losing all your precious time.

Wondering how you can stay focused while studying? Check out these unusual tips to help you with it 

With all that said, it’s highly advised that you get some sleep as well. Though not all of the all-nighters tend to last the entire night, making a habit of all-nighters can lead to a lack of sleep which will drain out your energy all the time and lead to a higher risk of getting sick! 

When you feel drained out or can’t seem to focus anymore, try getting a few hours of shut-eye before the exam. The nerves and adrenaline will help you during the exam and your body will be eternally grateful to you for getting some rest. Here’s hoping these few tips help you and me get through this exam season in one piece!

Iffat Ara Islam is currently pursuing Bachelor of Business (Hons) in International Business & Marketing at Taylor's University. She is also the Director of Community Engagement at Taylor’s International Student Society.