Once again, despite claiming you’ll NEVER leave work this late again, you’re doing your assessment the night before the deadline. No judgement here, we’re all in the same boat (even if the boat is the cart in that scene on Malcolm in the middle where they’re all drowning). Fear not, I have decided to bestow some of my wisdom upon you; coming from a person who once started and finished an assessment on the day it was due, trust me when I tell you these tips are the holy grail of studying late.
Caffeine and a tired student go together like strawberries and cream, or pineapple and pizza (don’t hate me, I said what I said). How you get your caffeine is very important, and the best way to do so is through coffee. Leave the energy drinks for the jagerbombs, as they have less caffeine than coffee and contain artificial sweeteners. Coffee contains natural caffeine as opposed to the synthetic caffeine found in energy drinks, but too much coffee can make you feel worse in the long run. After that first cup of coffee don’t immediately have another one, have a cup of tea instead to alternate your caffeine source and stop you feeling jittery.
Once you get on a roll you might feel like you don’t want to take a break to stop that burst of productivity, however, studies prove that you should have a break every 50-90 minutes to improve long-term concentration. Having 15-20 minutes per break is ideal, as it helps you regroup and refresh your mind, but it isn’t so long that you’ll feel out of the loop. Writing an assessment for hours on end without breaks will leave you feeling like pouring syrup all over your work because it’s just one huge pile of waffle, so do try to avoid that.
Try to cut out distractions like loud music or chatty friends, but we all know that when you’re working, its phones that are as tempting as a tub of Ben & Jerry’s when you’re on a diet. There are studies that show that just having your phone in your line of vision whilst you’re studying will distract you. So put your phone away under your pillow, ideally turn it off if you can, or put it on aeroplane mode so none of those calls come through (I may have been listening to Cardi B whilst writing this).
Despite exercise being proven to reduce stress, I have to admit this is one method I don’t practice unless I absolutely have to. If you’re studying at home you can do some simple stretching exercises, or if you’re feeling ambitious, go for a jog. If you’re outside of the house, don’t suddenly get up and start doing a set of jumping jacks (unless you’re absolutely fearless and don’t care what people think about you, in which case I salute you), go for a short walk and give yourself a pep talk about NEVER leaving work this late again to at least motivate yourself not to make a mistake like this again!
When you reach that point in the night when you feel absolutely hopeless, I present to you this beacon of hope: a cold shower. NOT lukewarm, but freezing cold. The key is to get in the shower whilst the water is lukewarm, stand there for a minute or two, and then quickly change the water temperature to as cold as possible. You only have to take it for about 10 seconds but I guarantee it will wake you up like nothing else could, so forget endless cups of coffee to help you persevere and instead, step into your shower cubicle.